Malachi 1:1-5 Love – Authentic Christianity Part 1
Malachi 1:1-5 Love – Authentic Christianity Part 1
As we begin a new series, we will look at the values that God desires from us as Christians. The point of this study, which is the point of the book of Malachi is this: God wants me to reset or restore my heart back to Him. Malachi is the last book written by an Old Testament prophet. The next prophet that would come to the scene would be John the Baptist – four hundred years later. The theme would be the same: God wants me to reset or restore my heart back to Him.
Have you ever seen the reset button on an electronic device? Something goes wrong with the device – the power fails, and the device will not respond to the owner. What do you? You press a button or a couple of keystrokes, and the device starts to do what you want it to do. This is the same that God wants from us today. He wants to reset our hearts back to Him. This is authentic Christianity – to be what God wants us to be.
When we look at the book of Malachi – you will see seven questions. These questions were asked by people who don’t have their hearts set on God. We will be looking at each of these questions during this series. We begin today with the value of love.
RESETTING MY HEART TO GOD’S LOVE
God says: I have loved you. (1:2)
Just because you have the power to do something, doesn’t mean you will do it. So there is another characteristic besides sovereignty driving this power to do something. God is sovereign and all-powerful. He could choose to create or not to create. The fact that He chose to create humanity shows that another characteristic or attribute of God is at work: God’s love.
Therefore God’s love is the most basic and supreme attribute of God. God’s love drives all the other attributes. Everything else flows out of His love.
LOVE —> SOVEREIGNTY —> ACTS OF GOD
You even see it in the most famous verse in the Bible – John 3:16. We have always heard: God so loved the world that He gave His only Son. God loved the world “that” (or in this way, in this fashion, or by doing this) – God showed His love by giving His only Son. So God in His love acted sovereignly by sacrificing His Son. Why? So that those who would come to God through Jesus would have eternal life.
God in His sovereignty (for His servants), will always choose the loving thing to do. Since His most basic attribute is love, God will choose what in His mind is the most loving thing to do.
God doesn’t have to do anything.
God can choose to move hearts, or not.
God can choose to heal, or not.
God can choose to change world powers, or not.
God can choose to give and take away.
And while what God chooses to do not what we would sometimes choose, His way is always best.
This is because God’s choice is not based on my conduct.
So you need to understand that whatever God chooses to do in a situation, it is not based on my conduct. But on His love.
Our problem is that we question God’s best in a given situation. As a result, we question His love for us. This is exactly what the people were doing in Malachi’s time.
The ways that God shows He loves us should be enough. But in typical fashion, we come to a point in our lives where we question that love. For example, we say:
“In what way?”
“How have You loved me, God?”
“Where is Your love, God?”
Have you questioned God’s love for you lately?
You know what God says to this set of questions? He doesn’t get mad. He just starts to remind us. He reminds us to look at our past history with God.
God says: I have loved you. Look at your history. (1:3)
When you surf the Internet, you will use a web browser. A browser comes from the idea that you browse or look through something. You browse a catalog in book form. You can browse other books. You can browse through shops. And you can browse websites on the Internet. People do this often for information. When you browse the Internet, your browser collects these websites and tracks them. The Internet browser will list a history of what Internet sites you have visited. This can be a good thing. You can look at that history and find something you forget a couple of days ago. It can be a bad thing, especially if you have been looking at websites that are not appropriate. So your web history lists a journal of your web experience.
God says to not look at your web history, but to your spiritual history. Your life experience is like God’s web browser. He has been looking into your life. He has been watching your life, like you and I watch an Internet. Your history is recorded in your spirit. There is no delete button. God has been there. You can’t erase Him out of your life experience.
God says that if you want to know if He loves you, look at your history. The nation of Israel thought that God had left them. Israel looked to what others were saying, and what was happening with other people. They stopped listening to God.
But God reminded them: I chose you through the line of Jacob, not Esau. You are My people, not the nation of Edom. God was saying: Don’t look somewhere else. Don’t worry about that. Look at what I did in your life up until now. Can’t you see how My hand was and is in your life events?
God points to the heritage of Esau and says: That is not your heritage. (1:3). What happened to these people are different from what happened to you. Why? Because Esau did not come to God by faith. Jacob did. So God honored Jacob. When you go back to the story of Jacob and Esau, you will see that God promised Rebekah children. God even says (before the boys were born) to Rebekah that Esau will serve Jacob.
In the sovereignty of God, God showed His favor to Jacob. Jacob received favor from God in two ways:
1. Jacob received the birthright of the Father. (Esau foolishly sold it to him- Genesis 25:29-34.)
2. Jacob received the blessing of the Father. (The Father Isaac gave it to him – Genesis 27:30-40.)
Many people want to look at this passage about Jacob and Esau and want to say that God is not fair. How can God love Jacob, and “hate” Esau? Well, first, let’s remember that this “hate” is not the same kind of hate that you and I may be thinking. One reason is that God still loved Esau in some ways. For example, He let Esau marry. Esau married one of Ishmael’s daughters (Genesis 28:9). Esau’s family prospered, and they even became kings (Genesis 36).
So although God blessed Esau, He left Esau unchosen in His love. God chose Jacob to receive the blessing of Abraham, to be in the process of God’s great plan of love – the love that would save the world. Jacob was chosen to be part of this plan. Esau was left unchosen.
So when God says that He hated Esau, God does not mean a positive hate – as in hating things. But relatively, God did not choose Esau as the object of God’s divine favor.
The fact that God gave Mt. Seir to Esau as his inheritance shows that He did love him to that extent. But He did not choose to bless Esau as He chose to bless Jacob, namely, with a covenant relationship with Himself. In the same way, a man might love several different women but choose to set his love on only one of them and enter into the covenant of marriage with her alone. His special love for the one might make it look like he hated the others.
God would restore Jacob’s line – Israel because He had entered into covenant relationship with them. God would keep His promises. This reminder of the Lord’s love provided positive motivation for the priests to return to the Lord, and it should have the same effect on all God’s people who read these verses.
Esau, and his descendants – the nation of Edom, are examples of what can happen when we don’t take God seriously. Although God provided for Esau, Esau’s descendants start to act independently of God. They choose to not let God love them. Just as Esau foolishly let go of God’s love by selling his birthright, Edom during the time of Malachi talks about doing things without God. They do not want to fall under the authority of God. When the Jews rejected Jesus, they became like Edom. This was Paul’s point when he quotes Malachi 1:2 in Romans 9. When you reject God’s love, you become like Esau.
So we need to reset our lives back to God. We need to let the Holy Spirit share with us our spiritual history with God. We need to examine our spiritual history and see where God has worked in our lives. Why? Because when you look at your history with God, you will notice that He has provided for you in the past. Your will see pictures of God’s love all over your past, and that will help you deal with the present and future. Because the next way that God loves you is:
God says: I have loved you. Look at My provision. (1:4-5)
God shows His loves to us by His provision. He doesn’t like it when we try to do everything all by ourselves without Him. There are two examples of this in Genesis:
1. Tower of Babel
2. Nation of Edom – People of Esau
God says: You try to build everything without Me and it won’t work. You try to depend on Me and ask Me to help you build, and I will help you succeed. God promises this.
As you walk with God in faith, He will provide. Let you share with you a little story to end. It is not a complete story, but it should help you to understand how God shows He will provide – when we trust Him.
So what do we learn from the example of the people here in Malachi? You need to ask Him to help you in whatever you plan to build – whether that is your studies, your career, your family. God wants to help you build.
God wants to build on His love in your life. He wants to provide what you need in your life-building plans.
I know a man, Tom Larkin, whose daughter died of Lupus. The daughter looked just like Heike he said. He is a songwriter. We have a CD from him. Heike was playing this CD during a very stressful time, as we were trying to see our apartment. Heike was feeling discouraged about the fact that there seemed to be no one interested, and that God was distant. During this song, as Heike was distressed, the phone rang twice. Two potential buyers for our apartment called. This was an affirmation to Heike that God provides.
Where are you today in your life-building plans? What is the direction that you want to go? God wants to be there with you. God wants to build on His love in your life. He wants to provide what you need in your life-building plans. God wants you to come back to Him, and ask for His help.