Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Malachi 1:1-5

An oracle: The word of the LORD to Israel through Malachi.

"I have loved you," says the LORD. 
      "But you ask, 'How have you loved us?' 
      "Was not Esau Jacob's brother?" the LORD says. "Yet I have loved Jacob, but Esau I have hated, and I have turned his mountains into a wasteland and left his inheritance to the desert jackals."

 Edom may say, "Though we have been crushed, we will rebuild the ruins." 
      But this is what the LORD Almighty says: "They may build, but I will demolish. They will be called the Wicked Land, a people always under the wrath of the LORD. You will see it with your own eyes and say, 'Great is the LORD -even beyond the borders of Israel!'

Interesting note, for starters:  Malachi means my messenger.

The book of Malachi is the final book of the Old Testament.  These are the last words of God to his people before 400 years of silence (then a star appears in the East).  

God doesn't have a lot of good things to say to his people, but he starts with love.  O the beauty, the power, the majesty of the unconditional love of God!  There is nothing which can separate us (Romans 8), even our unfaithfulness.

The pattern in Malachi is established here of a statement by God, followed by a question from the people, followed by and explanation from God.

It's interesting that God confirms his love for his people by highlighting his judgement of Edom.  As the rest of the OT, this must be read in light of the Abrahamic covenant.  The Edomites are descendants of Abraham, but here God is reminding his people that he chose Israel, the younger brother, to receive his blessing.  He will destroy Edom beyond recovery.  There will always be a remnant for Israel.  It's a funny kind of love, but God still manages to express his grace to his people, even in their rebellion.

I love the power of the final verse in this passage.  To me, it captures one of the major themes of the OT:  God is making himself famous in the whole world.  The phrase "you will see it with your own eyes" is particularly significant in a culture where Israel is the only nation among its neighbors with an invisible God.

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