the Second Week of Advent
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Charles Spurgeon's "Morning & Evening"
“If I be a Father, where is mine honour?”
We have now arrived at the period when the last of the prophets came with a divine message, Malachi is called by the Hebrews. “The seal of the prophets,” because he closes the prophetical canon of the old dispensation. Malachi followed close on the heels of Zechariah, and found the people no longer idolatrous, but formal, cold, self-righteous, and unspiritual. His censures are very bold, and his prophecies of the coming era of the gospel very clear.
They were discouraged because the temple had been built but the Messiah had not come, nor had the nation risen from its poverty into the glory which had been foretold; they therefore questioned the special love of God to them. The Lord replies by asking them:
The overthrow of Edom was final, but Israel would revive. Was not this a sign of special love?
Notice how thickly close questions follow each other all through the chapter. Shall we be able to answer the Lord when at the last he searches us?
You do not serve me with your hearts; ye slur my service, and bring the worst offerings ye can find.
To give to God what we should be ashamed to present to man is a grievous insult to his majesty.
Malachi 1:9 , Malachi 1:10
Nothing was done out of love; no one had enough respect unto the Lord to worship him voluntarily. They were unspiritual formalists.
Good news is this for us. When Jewish worship became unacceptable, a door of hope was opened for the Gentiles. Glory be to divine grace.
he has the best, and yet gives God the worst:
This chapter warns us not to worship God coldly and heartlessly. If we do indeed love him, let us give heartily to his cause, work for him zealously, pray to him fervently, and count his service our supreme delight, for without this our religion will be offensive in the sight of the Lord.
“Who may abide the day of His coming.”
Malachi signifies messenger, or angel. His office it was to hand over the prophetic charge into the hand of another messenger, who heralded the Lord, the Messiah himself, the Messenger of the Covenant. Malachi is the evening star of the Old Testament.
Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: “There was a man sent from God, whose name was John:”
Since the temple is destroyed in which Messiah was to come, it is quite certain that he has come. He came when few were looking for him, when only an aged man and a venerable woman were in the temple expecting his arrival.
Malachi 3:2 , Malachi 3:3
Malachi saw the future Judge in the present Saviour. He saw that the people were not ready for the Messiah, and that his coming would be the severest trial to which Israel had been put, and would more terribly than ever reveal the false-heartedness of the people. He saw, with prophetic eye, the end as well as the beginning, and looked onward to those better days in which Israel will yet be holiness unto the Lord.
Malachi 3:4 , Malachi 3:5
Jesus in the Gospel overthrows all forms of wickedness and oppression; he is the great reformer, the hope of all people.
The Jewish nation has passed through the fire, but exists still, because the Lord does not change, and will not cast off his people.
They were no longer idolaters, but they were mean in their gifts, and heartless in their worship; hence their woes.
And I will rebuke the devourer or the locust
How happy would it have been for the Jews had they listened to this encouraging admonition! They disregarded it, and perished. Let us take warning from their example. We cannot expect to prosper if we are dishonest to the Lord: he can easily enough measure back to us as we measure out to him; and if he sees us slack-handed in his service, he can soon send forth a devouring providence which will empty our purse, impoverish our trade, enfeeble our body, and sadden our spirits. Happy are they who, being saved by grace, bring him all their tithes, for peace and prosperity shall be. their portion.
O thou whom we delight in,
The messenger of love!
Come to thy temple quickly
Back from thy throne above:
But who may bide thy coming,
Who hear thy footstep’s tread,
Who stand when thou appearest,
Thou Judge of quick and dead?