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
The sufferings of God’s people are temporary; the LORD’s judgments upon His enemies are permanent. And the people of Judah could see this, for they were living at the time when Edom had just been destroyed! And they had not merely lost a major battle. They have been shattered. There were still Edomites around. In fact, some of them were living in Judah – but the nation itself was being shattered – and the LORD is making clear that they will never rise again.
Here are three simple but profound questions to ask:
- Assyria was once a great super-power. They ravaged the northern tribes of Israel and threatened Judah in the South. Here’s the question: How man Assyrians have you met
- Edom was a thorn in Israel’s side for hundreds of years. They mocked Israel in her suffering and even took part in looting God’s people. Yet, here’s the question: How many Edomites have you met?
- Abraham was called by the LORD, out of Ur of the Chaldees, nearly 4,000 years ago. The LORD made a covenant of faithful love with Abraham and his offspring that all the nations of the earth would be blessed in His Seed. Have you ever met someone who is an heir of this promise? Well, you are surrounded by them every week when you come to public worship!
As the Apostle Paul reminded the Galatians: “If you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to promise.”
Tor the past 2,000 years there have always been people (both inside and outside of the Church) who have spoken as though the Church is in a perilous condition. That unless we adapted to this aspect of culture or to that the Church would soon cease to exist. Don’t you believe that for a minute. Jesus Christ is building His Church so not even the gates of hell will not stand against it!
This is why we sing:
The Church shall never perish!
Her dear Lord to defend,
to guide, sustain, and cherish,
is with her to the end;
though there be those that hate her,
and false sons in her pale,
against both foe and traitor
she ever shall prevail.
This is not a song about the greatness of the Church. This is a song about the greatness of our God. So, whenever you sing it, would you remember the LORD’s work in protecting and building His Church as a clear sign that the LORD loves His Church – and that He loves you!
MEMORY WORK – Shorter Catechism Q/A 25
Q. 25. How doth Christ execute the office of a priest?
A. Christ executeth the office of a priest, in his once offering up of himself a sacrifice to satisfy divine justice, and reconcile us to God; and in making continual intercession for us.