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Malachi Chapter Two, The Unfaithful Messengers

In our study of Malachi chapter two, we will look at what God says to priests (messengers) that are unfaithful.

Malachi 2:1 & 2

'And now this admonition is for you O priests. If you do not listen, and if you do not set your heart to honor my name,' says the Lord Almighty, 'I will send a curse upon you, and I will curse your blessings. Yes, I have already cursed them, because you have not set your heart to honor me.'

Once again, we have God speaking to those that are supposed to minister before Him and He is not happy. God is not happy with the priests because they were putting on a show of worship through sacrifices but were not following God's instructions. The Old Testament sacrifices pointed to the coming perfect sacrifice of Jesus and each offering had to represent the Son of God. By giving less than the best animals for the sacrifices, they were not honoring God by pointing to Jesus. The punishment for the priests was going to be a "curse on their blessings". This refers to the fact that the tithe (10% of the harvest) was brought to the temple and given to the Levites and God was going to curse the seed and therefore decrease the harvest. We may be quick to say that this passage is dealing with the Old Testament and does not apply to us but we, as Christians, were called a royal priesthood by Jesus. If we are not honoring God with our worship, should we expect God to be happy and not curse our harvest?

Malachi 2:3

'Because of you I will rebuke your descendants, I will spread on your faces the offal from your festival sacrifices, and you will be carried off with it.'

Not only is God going to curse the seed and decrease the harvest of grain but He is also going to remove them from His service. By spreading the offal (waste from the intestines) from the sacrifices on their faces, the priests will become unclean and are not allowed to serve God in the temple until they are cleansed. All of us should take notice of this and examine ourselves because there is a warning here for us just as there was for the priests of Malachi's day. If we are in a position of leadership (we all are to some degree as Christians whether it is at work, ministry, or at home), God will remove us from that position if we do not honor Him with words and actions.

Malachi 2:4 & 5

'And you will know that I have sent you this admonition so that my covenant with Levi may continue,' says the Lord Almighty. 'My covenant was with him, a covenant of life and peace, and I gave them to him; this called for reverence and he revered me and stood in awe of my name.'

In Genesis 49, when Jacob was blessing his sons, he called his son Levi a murderer. Yet, in Numbers chapter three, God chose the Levites (the tribe of Levi) to be set aside to serve Him. They were chosen to serve and to teach God's people His law. To do so required that they have proper respect for God and His Name.

Malachi 2:6 & 7

'True instruction was in his mouth and nothing false was found on his lips. He walked with me in peace and uprightness, and turned many from sin. For the lips of a priest ought to preserve knowledge, and from his mouth men should seek instruction - because he is the messenger of the Lord Almighty.'

God is telling these errant priests that He knows their father (Levi) and God is reminding them of how Levi acted towards Him. He reminds them that nothing but the truth (which is the Word of God) was found on his lips. Then God reminds them that the people should come to them for instruction because they are the appointed messengers from the Lord Almighty. Once again, we may say that this is the Old Testament and that it doesn't apply to us because we aren't priests but Jesus said that all believers are a royal priesthood. Therefore, like these priests, nothing but the truth should pass from our lips and the lost (those that are not believers/priests) should be able to come to us for instruction.

Malachi 2:8 & 9

'But you have turned from the way and by your teaching have caused many to stumble; you have violated the covenant with Levi,' says the Lord Almighty. 'So I have caused you to be despised and humiliated before all the people, because you have not followed my ways but have shown partiality in matters of the law.'

Now, God has shown how they have turned their back on Him and so are being punished. In short, they broke their faith and instructions from God and chose to please men instead. As God is just, they are now disgraced in the sight of those very same people that they put before God. There is a very good lesson for us today as well in that, if we put others above what God tells us to do, we can expect to be brought low in front of them as God corrects His children/priests.

Malachi 2:10 & 11

Have we not all one Father? Did not God create us? Why do we profane the covenant of our fathers by breaking faith with one another? Judah has broken faith. A detestable thing has been committed in Israel and in Jerusalem: Judah has desecrated the sanctuary the Lord loves, by marrying the daughter of a foreign god.

Now the focus shifts from the priests to the people and their unfaithfulness. The questions are asked to get the people to understand what has happened in that they have turned their backs on their own people (God's people the Jews). They have broken faith by marrying a non-Jewish woman. This marriage is described as detestable and even a desecration of the sanctuary. If the sanctuary was desecrated (made unclean) then it could not be used for worship (sacrifices) and sins could not be atoned for until it was purified.

Malachi 2:12

As for the man who does this, whoever he may be, may the Lord cut him off from the tents of Jacob - even though he brings offerings to the Lord Almighty.

In verses 10 & 11, the effects of this sin were described and we saw that they affected the entire nation of God's people by desecrating the temple. Here, we see what God says to do with the individual and that is to remove him from the fellowship with the rest of God's people. Even if he brings offerings, he is to be removed because he is still with the woman that God said not to marry. There is no repentance so there will not be forgiveness and the sin will continue to affect the body like a cancer unless the cancer is removed.

Malachi 2:13 & 14

Another thing you do: You flood the Lord's altar with tears. You weep and wail because he no longer pays attention to your offerings or accepts them with pleasure from your hands. You ask. 'Why?' It is because the Lord is acting as a witness between you and the wife of your youth, because you have broken faith with her, though she is your partner, the wife of your marriage covenant.

This passage is an example of trying to get forgiveness without repenting of the sin. It speaks of how the people went to the altar with sacrifices and tears but did not want to change their practices (repent). They are trying to have both worlds - the one in God's will with the women He has chosen and this world where the men chose women that God said not to marry. They are trying to get God to ignore their sin but God is simply letting them know that, by not making a choice, they have really made the wrong choice. That same choice is ours today in every aspect of our lives. We can choose to listen to God, through His Word and the Spirit, and do as He says or we can do things our own way but we cannot get God to ignore our disobedience.

Malachi 2:15

Has not the Lord made them one? In flesh and spirit they are his. And why one? Because he was seeking godly offspring. So guard yourself in your spirit, and do not break faith with the wife of your youth.

God chose a specific group of women for His men to marry (be made one). They were God's possession in "flesh and spirit" and so He had the right to choose who to join together. He also gives us a reason for joining them together and not with someone else and that was to produce "godly offspring". He then tells them and us as well to "guard yourself in your spirit" (listen to Him) to find the one He would have us marry (be made one). God then goes so far as to tell them that, if they marry someone else, they will "break faith with the wife of your youth". If we remember that God knows every hair of our head (Matt. 10:30) and that He created good works for us to do before we were even born (Ephesians 2:10), we can understand what He means by "wife of your youth". God has created a specific man and woman to be married (made into one) from the time before they were even born and to marry someone else is to "break faith with the "wife of your youth".

Malachi 2:16

'I hate divorce,' says the Lord God of Israel, 'and I hate a man's covering himself with violence as well as with his garment,' says the Lord Almighty. So guard yourself in your spirit, and do not break faith.

This verse is often used improperly as we quote the first part "I hate divorce" and forget the second part. God has always hated divorce but He also says here that He hates it when the marriage is a love/hate relationship (covering himself with violence as well as with his garment). A better translation of this is "covering his wife". God did not create the marriage relationship to be a battle ground, in fact, it was designed to make the two complete. Finally, God is telling us to not marry just anyone we please at the moment ("not break faith") but to wait ("guard yourself in your spirit") until He reveals the one that He has created for us. If we do that, it will not end in divorce and it will not be a battleground.

Malachi 2:17

You have wearied the Lord with your words. 'How have we wearied him?' you ask. By saying, 'All who do evil are good in the eyes of the Lord, and he is pleased with them' or 'Where is the God of justice?'

Malachi warns the people that their words have "wearied the Lord" and He is getting tired of their words going against His Word. They are saying that evil is good and good is evil. That is the same today and even more so as many who teach the Word of God have clearly abandoned the Word of God. Just as God has called Judah to repentance here, in Malachi chapter two, He has called us to repent and turn back to God through His Word.

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