Return from Exile Malachi 2 (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 2.1-6; meditate on verses 5. 6.
1. What did God provide for His people in His covenant?
2. How did they express their participation in His covenant?
Through the prophet, God continued addressing His people by speaking of His covenant with Levi. Levi was special as a tribe because the priests all came through Levi, and Levi as a tribe represented the firstborn of all Israel. So, while God only addressed Levi in these verses, He was speaking to His entire people through them.
Here God recalled a time of His people’s remembering His covenant. The people feared the Lord and enjoyed life and peace with Him. They were “reverent” before Him, thus indicating that their worship was as it should have been (v. 5).
A far cry from what Malachi was seeing in his day.
Moreover, they lived according to God’s Law, speaking truth and living justly with one another before the Lord. They were careful about not sinning against the Lord and thus “walked” with Him in peace and equity (v. 6).
Those were the good old days, and mostly short-lived. In the days of Nehemiah and Malachi, all this covenant faithfulness had been forgotten. The people did not fear God and they offered only superficial worship and token obedience to His Law. They were delivered from captivity in Babylon and Persia, but they remained captive to self-interest, convenience, expediency, and whatever-seemed-right-in-their-eyes. They had “corrupted” their covenant with God (v. 8), and the consequences of such behavior would be hard.
Treasures Old and New: Matthew 13.52; Psalm 119.162
Let’s review, with God, this memory that He finds so pleasing to see if we can picture ourselves fulfilling our part in this happy scene.
1. My covenant was with him.
2. My covenant brought him life and peace.
3. My covenant, kept, should cause him to fear Me.
4. My covenant did teach him to fear Me.
5. My covenant kept, also, caused him to reverence Me. (Mal. 2.5)
Keeping God’s covenant causes good things to happen for others:
1. It causes the keeper to speak the truth.
2. It causes the keeper to never be unjust.
3. It causes the keeper to walk with God in peace and equity.
4. It causes the keeper to turn others away from captivity to self and sin. (Mal. 2.6)
What a beautiful symbiotic relationship that is!
“Great peace have those who love Your law,
and nothing causes them to stumble” (Ps. 119.165).
Blessings overflow from God to the keeper of His covenant,
that then flow onto others in their Personal Mission Field.
While remembering God’s love and His plan and the beauty of it,
doesn’t it call out to us? Doesn’t it woo us into obedience?
Doesn’t His love cause us to want to say good-bye to all that snares us?
And doesn’t it make you want to please Him, so that He can tell this same story about you?
“I remember when My child walked in darkness, captive to other things besides Me,
but now, for joy, has seen the light!”
“I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly” (Jn. 10.10).
1. How would you explain God’s covenant to a new believer? What does God promise? What does He expect of us?
2. Do you think it might be a good idea to renew your covenant with God from time to time? Explain.
3. God’s covenant includes promises for those who obey Him and sanctions for those who stray. How does each of these demonstrate God’s love for us?
Those ministers, and those only, are likely to turn men from sin, who preach sound doctrine, and live holy lives according to the Scripture. Many departed from this way; thus they misled the people. Such as walk with God in peace and righteousness, and turn others from sin, honor God; he will honor them, while those who despise him shall be lightly esteemed. Matthew Henry (1662-1714),Commentary on Malachi 2.5, 6
Pray Psalm 145.1-17.
Thank and praise God for His faithfulness in keeping covenant with you. Be specific. Praise Him for His many works in bringing you to Himself and blessing you with His goodness and love. Plan to share some of God’s goodness to you with others today.
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.