This week's Haftarah reading is from Malachi 1:1-2:7. Join Dr. Jeffery Myers, as he lays out the 3 most important messages in this book, which was shockingly followed by 400 years of silence, after this prophecy was given!
Follow along in the AUDIO PODCAST, by clicking on the play button below, and reading along with the notes, as you listen to today's Haftarah:
Lion of Judah Speaks: Haftarah Portion – Malachi 1:1-2:7
Malachi is the last message of prophecy given to Israel prior to 400 years of silence. Israel has rebuilt the temple, following the invasion of Babylon, but they are still under foreign oppression. Israel’s spiritual condition is horrific. Hosea pictured Israel as prone to failure, but repentant. Later, Ezekiel exposed her blatant rebellion and disobedience. So, by the time of Malachi, Israel has passed into numbness and apathy. Malachi takes the form of a dialogue, where Israel responds to accusations as if she has no idea what the prophet is talking about. There are 3 primary messages in this book; the first running from Malachi 1:2- 2:9. This first message is directed to the priests of Israel. This message is an important step, since the priests were responsible for teaching the people. What an awesome and frightening responsibility to stand before Adonai and the people as Adonai’s representative. Our message must be pure, not including man’s thinking, sharing the absolute truth of His Word without wavering or compromise. Failures by the priests would translate into failure by the people. Malachi’s message, or should I say Adonai’s message, accuses Israel of various sins. However, in response to almost all of these, Israel’s responds with indifference and ignorance: “how have we done that”? This is the same response from Yah’s people today! They are blinded by their own wants and desires. Disillusioned by the priorities in our lives, we can’t see where we are failing and walking in disobedience. In this day of greasy grace, we accept whatever we do as okay to our forgiving Father. The license to do what we want has been woven with the teaching of the body believing all is acceptable, therefore, all is well. This is a sad state of affairs within His Bride.
“Malachi” literally means, “My Messenger”, and this message is a wake-up to the “messengers of Adonai”, the priesthood. So, the first accusation given to Israel is simply that Yah has “loved them”. In other words, Adonai has cared for and protected them, even though Israel has been persecuted and scattered, Adonai has kept them alive and intact. The priests are especially accused of “despising Yah’s name”. They do this by offering unacceptable sacrifices. This is so significant for us today, just because we give our sacrifices doesn’t mean they are accepted, remember Cain and Abel. We can’t give Adonai what we want, how we want, when we want because there is a way to bring these sacrifices to Him. He has a protocol that we must follow…it must be what He wants not what we want. The priests had been given detailed instructions by Adonai via Moses on proper sacrifice. Instead, they were offering sick, crippled, or otherwise impure animals. Wow, what kind of sacrifices are we bringing to the Yah of Abraham, Isaac, and Ya’akov…left-overs, unacceptable and profane? The quality of their offerings was so poor that even a human government official would not have received them. Do we offer Yah something that we are ourselves would reject? Do we offer Yah the things in our cupboards that we don’t want instead of the best of what we desire? The kind of offering we bring to our Father reveals our relationship with Him and how much we truly love Him. We also see that these offerings or sacrifices actually revealed their bitter and lazy attitude. These are both an insult to HaShem.
How does HaShem respond? His response is a rejection of Israel’s worship. In fact, Adonai says He would rather the priests offer no sacrifice at all, rather than improper ones. The same is true for us…a half-hearted, broken down, left-over gift is unacceptable and an insult to us. Why give it at all? The sin of bringing Yah apathetic, selfish, or profane worship is worse than offering no worship at all.
Israel knew they were the “chosen nation” of Adonai and that the Gentiles, all the non-Jewish people, were not. So, when Adonai tells them that He will be worshipped, in purity, by the unclean Gentiles, this is a slap in the face to Israel. A slap that should have alerted and awakened them to their complacency. The priests knew the right things to do. They are aware of the proper sacrifices, and the right way to teach the people. However, they see these standards and commandments as too much trouble. Malachi 1:13 (NIV), “And you say, What a burden! And you sniff at it contemptuously, says the L-rd Almighty. When you bring injured, lame or diseased animals and offer them as sacrifice, should I accept them from your hands? says Adonai.” Then verse 14 tells us that men routinely make promises to Adonai that they don’t keep for selfish reasons. However, even in this condemnation, Adonai’s mercy is evident. His mercy and grace are extended to us in so many ways, so many times in our lives. Romans 5:20 (NCT) states, “Yah’s law was given so that all people could see how sinful they were. But as people sinned more and more, Adonai’s wonderful grace became more abundant.” As human sin increased, grace “super-increased”. Adonai’s grace abounded even more. This makes logical sense and yet it is still astounding to us. Adonai’s grace—giving and good to us when we have earned bad, cannot be overwhelmed by our own sinfulness. However, this does not give us a license to sin, He expects us to walk in obedience as we grow in Him. The penalty for profaning Yah’s holiness, in the Torah, is death. Romans 6:23, “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of Yah is eternal life through Yeshua HaMashiach.” Despite their disregard for Him, He is still trying to reach His people for their own benefit. Isn’t He amazing?
What we have exhibited is both sin and hope. The people are faithful or unfaithful, in varying degrees, to Yah’s covenant with them, and the degree of their faithfulness is immediately apparent in their worship or their neglect to worship. Even in the time of restoration, human sin is never far away. In Malachi; people began to profit by defrauding laborers of their wages, polluting the temple worship and as a result the environment is also degraded. Yet, the hope of the prophet remains and a messenger is sent to prepare the way for restoration. Restoration of the religious/social infrastructures of the Temple. A restoration of the environment, and restoration of their economy, including “the produce of their soil” and “their vine in the field”.
In conclusion, we see Adonai’s great love for the nation of Israel, this is the basis upon which the rest of the book of Malachi is built. Because Adonai loves you, Malachi says to Israel, He is calling you to respond in love toward Him, and we will see that Israel was not responding to His great love with love. One day they will repent and respond to Yah’s love and receive all the blessings promised to them.
Adonai loves us as well! Yah in His infinite wisdom chose us to receive all the spiritual blessings in Yeshua. Let’s respond to His love by loving Him with all our heart, soul, and might and by living our lives according to His Word in everything we do, making His Word a part of every part of our lives. Teach it to our children and our children’s children. Talk of Yah’s Word when we sit in our homes and when we walk by the way and when we lie down and when we rise up and Adonai will be magnified beyond the border of our home.
Shabbat Shalom and I hope you had a great Thanksgiving!
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Have a great Sabbath, follow Him with all your strength and heart and serve Him with gladness.
Shalom Mishpocha and see you next Sabbath!