Three Questions That Reveal The Compassion And Holiness Of God

            Malachi wrote, “The burden of the word of the LORD to Israel by Malachi. I have loved you, saith the LORD. Yet ye say, Wherein hast thou loved us? Was not Esau Jacob’s brother? saith the  LORD: yet I loved Jacob, And I hated Esau, And laid his mountains and his heritage waste for the dragons of the wilderness. Whereas Edom saith, We are impoverished, But we will return and build the desolate places; Thus saith the LORD of hosts, They shall build, but I will throw down; And they shall call them, The border of wickedness, And, The people against whom the LORD hath indignation for ever. And your eyes shall see, and ye shall say, The LORD will be magnified from the border of Israel. A son honoureth his father, and a servant his master: If then I be a father, where is mine honour? And if I be a master, where is my fear? Saith the LORD of hosts unto you, O priests, that despise my name. And ye say, Wherein have we despised thy name? Ye offer polluted bread upon mine altar; And ye say, Wherein have we polluted thee? In that ye say, The table of the LORD is contemptible. And if ye offer the blind for sacrifice, is it not evil? And if ye offer the lame and sick, is it not evil? Offer it now unto thy governor; Will he be pleased with thee, or accept thy person? saith the LORD of hosts.”

            Malachi was the last of the Old Testament prophets. After his prophecies, there would be four hundred years of silence. Malachi’s first message is one of God’s love. “I have loved you, saith the LORD.” God is ever reaching out in love to those who are lost and those who have backslidden. Malachi poses three questions from God.

            First, “If then I be a father, where is mine honour?” The word “father” is a good word. A father loves and provides. A father remains faithful when others desert us. Children suffer when there is no father in the home. How is God our Father? Paul spoke about God on Mars Hill, he said, “For in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring. Forasmuch then as we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Godhead is like unto gold, or silver, or stone, graven by art and man’s device.” Acts 17:28-29. There are those who are not God’s spiritual children. Jesus said, “Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.” John 8:44. We become God’s spiritual children by believing that Jesus is the Christ, Jonh 8:24, repenting of our sins, Luke 13:3, confessing that Jesus is the Christ, Acts 8:37, and by being immersed in water for the remission of our sins, Acts 22:16. We honor our Father with our lives, not just with our lips. Mark 7:6. We can honor our Father with our substance. Proverbs 3:9; Malachi 3:10.

            Second, “If if I be a master, where is my fear?” “Master” is a word of dedication, a disciple’s word. “Fear” is respect, reverence, and surrender. The disciples followed Jesus and called Him “Master.” Mark 4:38. You cannot serve two “Masters.” Matthew 6:24. The one that follows the Christ reveals that we regard Him as our master. We follow Him because we respect and reverence Him. Are we to fear the Christ? Jesus said, “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” Matthew 10:28. Paul said to Christians, “Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.” Philippians 2:12. Paul called himself a “servant of Jesus Christ.” Romans 1:11. Who is our Master? Whose servant are we?

            Third, “And if ye offer the blind for sacrifice, is it not evil? And if ye offer the lame and sick, is it not evil?” The Old Testament priests were polluting the altar with inferior sacrifices. They offered the lame, sick, and blind lambs. These were not sacrifices at all. These lambs did not picture the coming of the perfect Lamb of God “which taketh away the sin of the world.” John 1:29. These folks did not understand the meaning of the sacrifices, as foreshadowing the perfect Lamb of God. Peter wrote, “But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.” 1 Peter 1:19. God has given His best for us. We ought to give our best to Him. Are we giving our best to the Master? What are our answers to these three questions?
Bobby D. Gayton