Thursday, July 6, 2017

Bible Study Notes in Malachi- Introduction and Chapter 1

Malachi 1

-Introduction: Malachi (My Messenger) is the book most often given credit for bridging the gap between the Old Testament writings and the New Testament period. Malachi is the textually proclaimed author of the work. This is the book that concludes the Old Covenant revelation of God to His people, and it serves the purpose of confronting the Hebrews, and us, with their sins against a perfect Sovereign with the hopes of restoration in fellowship and a pointing to the Messiah. Written around 430 years before Christ came to earth, this book gives example of the post exilic prophets with Haggai and Zechariah and Nehemiah being contemporaries to the time period. It uses a unique literary style employing a dramatic use of questions asked by God and His people with substantial answers in response. Key themes include, not are not limited to: 1) God’s Love for His People, 2) God’s Omniscience, 3) The Sin of the Priests, 4) The Sin of the People, 5) Faithfulness, 6) Grace, 7) Healing, 8) Joy, and 9) The LORD’s Coming. The structure moves from the awareness of the sins of the priests in Israel (Malachi 1:1-2:9), to the sins of the people of Israel (Malachi 2:10-3:15), to God’s faithful remnant (Malachi 3:16-4:6). There is a preview of John the Baptist, who comes in the Spirit of Elijah as the book concludes (Malachi 4:5-6, Matthew 11:14;17:12, Mark 9:13, Luke 1:17). The key verse could be attributed to Malachi 4:2, “But for you who fear My Name, the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its wings; and you will go forth and skip about like calves from the stall.”

(Ideas extracted from “New American Standard Bible: Life Application Study Bible.” Zondervan: Grand Rapids, MI, 1995, pgs. 1570-1571)

(Ideas also extracted from “Talk Thru the Bible.” Bruce Wilkinson and Kenneth Boa. Thomas Nelson, Inc.: Nashville, TN, 1982, pgs. 294-296)

-Chapter 1: Malachi, writing in the post exilic period around 430 years before the coming of the Messiah, relates his burden (or oracle) concerning the chosen people of God’s profaning neglect of the temple worship towards the LORD. He begins with the Word of the LORD assuring His people that He loves them (Malachi 1:2) comparatively to Esau’s desolation and wasted inheritance (Malachi 1:2b-4). This contrast is given so that “The LORD be magnified beyond the border of Israel (Malachi 1:5).”

-*Application* God’s intention is for the whole world to know Him and His mercy, greatness, and salvation. This has been displayed through His workings with Israel, who would bring forth the promise of the Redeemer, Jesus Christ. This gospel of the LORD’s goodness was to be extended far beyond the reaches of His chosen people and the border of Israel. This prophet understands this and so should we. Engage in the missionary effort!

-The sins of the priests and false forms of worship are quickly addressed by the prophet Malachi at this point. Defilement was seen in three basic-fundamental areas: 1) Expedience- doing things as cheaply as possible with no real effort or devotion, 2) Neglect- not caring how they carried out God’s Divine commands, and 3) Outright Disobedience- sacrificing their own way rather than the way God had ordained. Their flippant attitudes demonstrated their real heart towards the LORD, and He was not pleased (Malachi 1:6-10, 12-14).

-*Application* What image of God do those around you see in us? Does our character reflect our heart’s intentions in our devotion to God? We have a priest-like duty as a go between to those who do not know the LORD. Be an example of a true Christ follower in thoughts, words, and actions.

-God is great (gadowl- high, greater, loud, mighty, eldest), and His Name to be feared (yare'- fear, afraid, terrible, dreadful, reverence, astonishment, and awe) among all the nations in purity (Malachi 1:11, 14). He wants nothing to profane His Holy Name and detests it when those called by His Name defile what He ordains.

-*Application* Offer the LORD your absolute best, whatever that may be. Our righteousness is based on Christ and that is non-negotiable. Let Him control your life as a living sacrifice, wholly acceptable unto Him (Romans 12:1-2).

Verse to Memorize: Malachi 1:11

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