“I have loved you,” the Lord said to Israel. Yet God’s people did not accept this “oracle.” Yahweh pressed upon them the truth of their blessed election by the Almighty. He reminded them of the story of Jacob and Esau in the womb of their mother Rebekah. Jacob became the nation of Israel and Esau was the father of the Edomites. The former had a wonderful eternal future, while the latter would soon be gone from the face of the earth. Concerning God’s everlasting plan it was very clear which of the two nations would receive His covenant faithfulness. “I have loved Jacob, but Esau I have hated.”
God’s gracious choice of Israel was not based on any merit that they possessed in themselves. The Lord’s abundant mercy should have propelled them toward their Maker in sincere and humble worship. Yet they were not obedient to His Word, and even sought to deceive Him with sacrificial offerings that were plainly unacceptable.
The failings of the Jews were not corrected by those entrusted with the priestly office. Men who should have known and enforced the Lord’s statutes “despised” their God. They offered “polluted food” at the “Lord’s table” by accepting gifts that would have been insulting to the human governors above them. They presented animals to the Lord that were “lame or sick” and imagined that God did not notice their impudence.
The Lord preferred to end the Old Testament sacrificial system rather than this continued hypocrisy. Many of the returned exiles of Israel had counted God’s regulations as an overwhelming “weariness.” The Lord deserved better than this insolence. “From the rising of the sun to its setting my Name will be great among the nations.” God would raise up a host of New Covenant worshipers who would bring the “incense” of their prayers to Him. “I am a great King, says the Lord of Hosts, and My Name will be feared among the nations.”
The Lord Jesus has now become the perfect Monarch over a worldwide church. He purchased the elect from every people group throughout the world through the shedding of His own blood. There was nothing lacking in that one offering for our sake. His Spirit is now at work within us, enabling us to cry out to God with holy boldness. Because of Jesus and the Holy Spirit, the prophecies of Malachi are being fulfilled to the praise of the Lord’s amazing grace.
Prayer from A Book of Prayers
Lord of Glory, You have spoken through Your messengers the prophets. You revealed Your love for Israel, yet Your plans have always been great even beyond the borders of the Promised Land. Father, You sent Your Son to be the Savior of both Jews and Gentiles. Jesus accomplished His work as our High Priest with full integrity. Our Messiah did everything perfectly. His offering was pure, for He gave Himself as a holy sacrifice. There was no blemish in Jesus. Now our Redeemer is also our King, and His Name shall be exalted throughout the earth.