Return from Exile Malachi 1(2)
Pray Psalm 145.18-21.
The LORD is near to all who call upon Him,
To all who call upon Him in truth.
He will fulfill the desire of those who fear Him;
He also will hear their cry and save them.
The LORD preserves all who love Him,
But all the wicked He will destroy.
My mouth shall speak the praise of the LORD,
And all flesh shall bless His holy name
Forever and ever.
Sing Psalm 145.18-21.
(Brother James’ Air: The Lord’s My Shepherd, I’ll Not Want)
Be near to all who call on You; all those who fear You, bless.
Preserve all those whose love is true; save us in our distress.
Our mouths will speak with praise of You; Your holy Name we’ll bless.
Read Malachi 1.1-5; meditate on verses 2-5.
1. What had the people forgotten?
2. How did Edom serve as a warning to God’s people?
The prophet reminded the people of the love of God. “How has God loved us? We have been in captivity for seventy years. We have had to labor against impossible odds and lurking enemies to build His temple and restore the wall of our city. All this we have done with our own hands. So how has God loved us?” Such must have been the attitude of the people, whose hearts were captive to their own selfish interests, rather than to the God Who loved them with an everlasting love.
From the beginning, the love of God for His people was all of grace. He set His love on Jacob even before he and his brother were born, before either had done anything good or evil (v. 2). God made Jacob heir of the promises of His covenant. Esau, who despised his birthright, fell under the wrath of God. His land was laid waste and his heritage was devoured (v. 3). Yet he managed to “return and rebuild the desolate places” (v. 4). Does that sound familiar? He who despised God’s covenant yet realized a measure of the grace of God in rebuilding his heritage.
But to God it was a “Territory of Wickedness” which He would “throw down” (v. 4). The prophet emphasized that God’s people would see this happen; they would see the LORD magnified beyond their border (v. 5). God intended the destruction of Edom to be a warning to His people: They who will not remember Him or His love will feel the wrath of His judgment. God is magnified whenever wickedness is destroyed, whether in the world or in His own people. Remember His love or know His wrath. The message remains true today.
Treasures Old and New: Matthew 13.52; Psalm 119.162
“‘I have loved you’, says the LORD” (Mal. 1.2).
Oh my, yes, He has; and we need never ask the question that they posed,
“In what way have You loved us?”
We can paraphrase Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s poem, How Do I Love Thee, for our purposes.
God says to us:
How do I love thee? Let Me count the ways.
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height…
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son,
that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (Jn. 3.16).
“You did not choose Me, but I chose you…” (Jn. 15.16).
“…that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height—to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God” (Eph. 3.17-19).
“Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and His ways past finding out!” (Rom. 11.33).
We respond to God:
I love Thee with a love I seemed to lose with my lost saints.
I love Thee with the breath, smiles, tears, of all my life;
And if You choose, I shall but love Thee better after death.
“I will love You, O LORD, my strength” (Ps. 18.1).
“I love the LORD…” (Ps. 116.1).
“By this we know love, because He laid down His life for us” (1 Jn. 3.16).
“We love Him because He first loved us” (1 Jn. 4.19).
Remember God’s love and love Him in return (Jn. 14.15).
1. How can we keep from taking God’s love for granted?
2. What is your responsibility in remembering the covenant you have entered with God?
3. What is the role of corporate worship in helping us increase love for God?
He chose his people that they might be holy. If we love him, it is because he has first loved us; yet we all are prone to undervalue the mercies of God, and to excuse our own offenses. Matthew Henry (1662-1714), Commentary on Malachi 1.1-5
Pray Psalm 145.1-17.
Spend an extended time in reflection, meditation, and prayer, remember with gratitude and praise all the ways God has remembered His covenant love for you.
Sing Psalm 145.1-17.
(Brother James’ Air: The Lord’s My Shepherd, I’ll Not Want)
I will extol You, God, my King, and ever praise Your Name!
I bless You, LORD, for everything each day, and e’er the same!
Great are You, LORD, my praise I bring; unsearchable Your fame!
To ev’ry generation we Your wondrous works shall tell.
The splendor of Your majesty we contemplate full well.
We speak of all Your mighty deeds and all Your greatness tell!
Then shall we all the glorious fame of Your great goodness sing—
Your righteousness, Your gracious Name, Your mercy: praise we bring!
Your steadfast love remains the same, Your grace our covering.
Your works shall thank You; all Your saints shall bless and praise You, LORD.
Your reign we bless without restraint; Your power fills our words.
Our children we shall educate in all Your splendor, LORD.
Your Kingdom evermore shall be; You reign forever, LORD!
Your works You do so faithfully, according to Your Word.
The falling You uphold and the oppressed You rescue, LORD!
The eyes of all look up to You to meet our needs each day.
Open Your hand, provide the food we need, O LORD, we pray!
Kindness and righteousness You do, O LORD, in every way!
T. M. and Susie Moore
Two books can help us understand our own captivity and lead us to seek revival and renewal in the Lord. The Church Captive asks us to consider the ways the Church today has become captive to the world. And Revived! can help us find the way to renewal. Learn more and order your free copies by clicking here and here.
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Except as indicated, all Scriptures are taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. For sources of all quotations, see the weekly PDF of this study. All psalms for singing are from The Ailbe Psalter, available free by clicking here.