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Day 218 – Thru the Bible
Today we start Malachi. Here’s the overview video.
Video – Read Scripture: Malachi
How does this video help you understand Malachi?
Malachi 1 – God’s grace is not based on our works but on His sovereign, predestining love, as demonstrated in His choice of Jacob over Esau. This explains God’s continuing undeserved grace to Israel, while Edom was deservedly cut off for their sins. Initially, the assurance that this covenant love extends to Israel may seem good for Jews yet limiting for others, but Malachi hints at a grander consequence. What is more, since God is sovereign in election, he can extend His mercy more expansively upon whomever He chooses, Jew or Gentile, as the apostle Paul will make plain using this same example (Romans 9:1–24). God’s faithful commitment to His people (from the ranks of both Jew and Gentile) is possible because the destruction that all His chosen ones deserve for their sins has been poured out on Jesus. Ethnicity is not the issue; faith in Jesus is the banner under which people can gather from all nations.
Malachi reaffirms God’s love for His people, before he begins to condemn their sins and failures. When we forget God’s love and faithfulness to us, we lose our motivation to obey Him and may blame God’s perceived unfaithfulness or unfairness for our sin.
Malachi shows how God’s people can go through the motions of orthodox worship and yet be wasting their time and wearying the Lord (2:17) with insincerity and selfishness. The message remains the same for us: True worship comes as our hearts are stirred afresh by God’s amazing grace in sending Jesus to be the perfect worshiper in our place. He gave the perfect and undefiled offering for us, and His merit is now credited to us by faith.
The result of Jesus’ offering is that God’s own people are restored to worship, and true worship is extended around the world. Jesus came to be a light not just to Israel but to the Gentiles as well (Luke 2:32). Because of His ministry, the incense of believing prayers and the worship of devoted hearts is offered not just in Jerusalem but to the ends of the earth (Acts 1:8).
How does knowing the God has chosen you encourage you today?
Malachi 2 – The duty of priests was faithful performance of their duties in behalf of God’s people and in honor of God. We are part of a new priesthood (1 Peter 2:9), with a call to declare God’s word to our neighbors and the nations. Even if we fail, God is determined to maintain the covenant with Levi. God’s desire to grant His people life and peace will not be frustrated by the failures of their earthly representatives. His people need a perfect priest who will offer right sacrifices on their behalf and teach them the law accurately and fairly. That is why Jesus had to come as our Great High Priest and just Lawgiver (Matthew 5). The work of the Levitical priesthood has come to an end because it has fulfilled its purpose of pointing us to, and preparing the way for, Jesus (Hebrews 7:11–28).
Marriage is a primary metaphor for the relationship between God and His people in the Old Testament (example, verse 11), and of Jesus and His church in the New Testament (Ephesians 5:22–33). Marriage is also, of course, the way holy seed is raised up, the next generation of faith.
Our hope rests in God’s faithfulness, which always trumps our unfaithfulness. Israel was an unfaithful wife, who regularly strayed from her covenant commitments. She deserved to be divorced and abandoned, yet God pursued His wandering bride and wooed her back to Himself (Hosea 1–3). Jesus is the great bridegroom who pursued His people at great personal cost (Ephesians 5:25–26).
Why does God allow evildoers to prosper? Surely if God is just, He should intervene immediately and give them what they deserve. Yet the Lord warns us to be careful about seeking His intervention glibly. Strict justice would condemn us all.
The good news comes from Jacob’s personal experience with God (we will see this tomorrow in chapter 3). He couldn’t have survived justice: it would have destroyed Him. Instead, Jacob received God’s grace because God had chosen him in the beginning (see 1:1–5). We too are fickle and unfaithful, undeserving of God’s love. God remains faithful, however, because He cannot deny Himself (2 Timothy 2:12–13). The refiner’s fire purifies us because it first burned Jesus; the launderer’s soap washes us clean because its painful sting was borne by Jesus. Only when we understand that can we truly rejoice to see holy Jesus coming to take possession of His temple.
How does recognizing that your own sin deserves God’s judgment, lead you to worship Jesus, who bore the punishment we earned?
What other thoughts or questions does today’s video and reading bring up?
Some of these notes are from the ESV Gospel Transformation Bible study notes. We highly recommend this study Bible.
Videos produced by www.TheGospelProject.com.
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