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17 August 2020 – Malachi 1:1-5

The oracle of the word of the LORD to Israel by Malachi.

“I have loved you,” says the LORD. But you say, “How have you loved us?” “Is not Esau Jacob’s brother?” declares the LORD. “Yet I have loved Jacob but Esau I have hated. I have laid waste his hill country and left his heritage to jackals of the desert.” If Edom says, “We are shattered but we will rebuild the ruins,” the LORD of hosts says, “They may build, but I will tear down, and they will be called ‘the wicked country,’ and ‘the people with whom the LORD is angry forever.’” Your own eyes shall see this, and you shall say, “Great is the LORD beyond the border of Israel!” – Malachi 1:1–5

Allen P. Ross writes:

The book opens with the declaration of the word of the LORD: “I have loved you.” This affirmation of God’s choice of and affection for the nation of Israel provides a powerful beginning to the oracles in the book, for on the one hand it will soften the tone of the messages – they will be delivered in love, but on the other hand it will underscore the nation’s ingratitude. Even though God loved them, they had failed to show any appreciation for it or any response to it. In fact, even when the prophet declared this message, the response was a skeptical challenge for Malachi to convince them that God loved them.

If people are in any way open to the word of God, the constantly repeated message of God’s faithful love for His people should inspire greater devotion and service. Bu the appeal of Malachi will be even wider than that, for the object of God’s love in this passage is the whole nation – some unbelievers and some believers. Even the unbelievers would have to acknowledge that they were part of a special people whom God loved and desired to use, if they would only believe and follow His word. So Malachi began with the most powerful motivation that he could use to appeal to the people: the love of God.

MEMORY WORK – Shorter Catechism Q/A 19
Q. 19. What is the misery of that estate whereinto man fell?
A. All mankind by their fall lost communion with God, are under his wrath and curse, and so made liable to all the miseries in this life, to death itself, and to the pains of hell forever.