Sermon for April 11, 2021

Unfaithfulness (Part One) — Malachi 2:13-3:5 NIV

Malachi is the last book of the Old Testament.  Often, we quickly read through it.  Most of us only know anything of Malachi because of numerous sermons on tithing.  Even the message on tithing may have been taken out of context and usually you only hear sermons on tithing when the church is struggling to pay bills.  Sometimes the pastor (and wrongly so) preaches the sermon so that they do not have their pay cut or simply looking for a pay raise.  But Malachi, which in Hebrew means my messenger (in the New Testament the word in Greek is “angelos”, the word we get in English as angel), it is less a person’s actual name and more of a title.  Malachi is a post-exilic construction, and its construction opposes the words of Nehemiah and Ezra.  Malachi is what is called a book of disputation, or what would be called an opening argument is a court of law.  Today we are going to focus on dispute #3 and next week we will focus on dispute #4. 

13 Another thing you do: You flood the Lord’s altar with tears. You weep and wail because he no longer looks with favor on your offerings or accepts them with pleasure from your hands. 14 You ask, “Why?” It is because the Lord is the witness between you and the wife of your youth. You have been unfaithful to her, though she is your partner, the wife of your marriage covenant.  15 Has not the one God made you? You belong to him in body and spirit. And what does the one God seek? Godly offspring. So be on your guard, and do not be unfaithful to the wife of your youth.  16 “The man who hates and divorces his wife,” says the Lord, the God of Israel, “does violence to the one he should protect,” says the Lord Almighty. So be on your guard, and do not be unfaithful.

17 You have wearied the Lord with your words. “How have we wearied him?” you ask. By saying, “All who do evil are good in the eyes of the Lord, and he is pleased with them” or “Where is the God of justice?”

“I will send my messenger, who will prepare the way before me. Then suddenly the Lord you are seeking will come to his temple; the messenger of the covenant, whom you desire, will come,” says the Lord Almighty.  But who can endure the day of his coming? Who can stand when he appears? For he will be like a refiner’s fire or a launderer’s soap. He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver; he will purify the Levites and refine them like gold and silver. Then the Lord will have men who will bring offerings in righteousness, and the offerings of Judah and Jerusalem will be acceptable to the Lord, as in days gone by, as in former years.  “So I will come to put you on trial. I will be quick to testify against sorcerers, adulterers and perjurers, against those who defraud laborers of their wages, who oppress the widows and the fatherless, and deprive the foreigners among you of justice, but do not fear me,” says the Lord Almighty.

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