Return from Exile: Malachi 2 (6)
Pray Psalm 85.4-6.
Restore us, O God of our salvation,
And cause Your anger toward us to cease.
Will You be angry with us forever?
Will You prolong Your anger to all generations?
Will You not revive us again,
That Your people may rejoice in You?
Sing Psalm 85.4-6.
(Lyons: O Worship the King)
Restore us, O God, renew us in peace,
and cause all Your wrath against us to cease.
Will You evermore all Your wrath to us show?
Revive us that we may Your joy again know.
Read Malachi 2.1-17; meditate on verse 17.
1. How was God feeling toward His people?
2. What caused this?
God was wearied with what His people were saying. That can’t be a good thing.
And it was not. Because they were calling evil good and suggesting that God was not able to bring justice to His people. They even went so far as to tell those who were breaking the Sabbath, divorcing their wives, robbing God of His tithes, and otherwise transgressing His covenant that, really, God was OK with that. He continues to delight in you, even though your ways are far from where He wants you to be.
No wonder God was fed up with that kind of talk. That’s the way people talk who are captive to self. They can justify anything they want to do because, well, God is a God of love, you know? He understands that we are weak and frail, and He accepts us just as we are. We should just be our authentic selves, and God will be fine with that.
But God is not fine with that. He is wearied by it. Sick of it. Done with it, and done with all those who play fast and loose with His Law and think God will give them a pass on whatever they want to do.
What a mess this people had come to be. What would become of them? What would God do to renew His everlasting covenant with this wayward people?
And with us?
Treasures Old and New: Matthew 13.52; Psalm 119.162.
“In what way have we wearied Him?” (Mal. 2.17)
“He who justifies the wicked, and he who condemns the just,
both of them alike are an abomination to the LORD” (Prov. 17.15).
“Those who forsake the law praise the wicked,
but such as keep the law contend with them” (Prov. 28.4).
“It is not good to show partiality in judgment.
He who says to the wicked, ‘You are righteous,’
him the people will curse; nations will abhor him.
But those who rebuke the wicked will have delight,
and a good blessing will come upon them” (Prov. 24.23-25).
“It is not good to show partiality to the wicked,
or to overthrow the righteous in judgment” (Prov. 18.5).
Need more info on how we weary God?
“Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil;
who put darkness for light, and light for darkness;
Who put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!” (Is. 5.20)
“Dead flies putrefy the perfumer’s ointment,
and cause it to give off a foul odor;
so does a little folly to one respected for wisdom and honor” (Eccl. 10.1).
That should give us a little peek at how we, as a captive church, have wearied God. It should grieve our souls to know that we have caused Him this kind of displeasure. And it should be frightening as well, for we dare not dilly dally with His truth, nor His requirements for our lives.
In His mercy and grace, He makes a way for us to be clean from these dalliances with the devil. God has great hope and many plans for us. He spoke of this hope through the prophet Isaiah, when confronting the people with some of these same dalliances:
“‘Wash yourselves, make yourselves clean; put away the evil of your doings from before My eyes.
Cease to do evil, learn to do good; seek justice, rebuke the oppressor;
defend the fatherless, plead for the widow.
Come now, and let us reason together,’ says the LORD,
‘Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow;
though they are red like crimson, they shall be as wool.
If you are willing and obedient, you shall eat the good of the land;
but if you refuse and rebel, you shall be devoured by the sword’;
for the mouth of the LORD has spoken” (Is. 1.16-20).
In Jesus Christ God’s mercy and hope for us is made clear: “For it is God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ” (2 Cor. 4.6).
“Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us” (Rom. 5.5).
“Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure” (1 Jn. 3.2, 3).
Our choices have become easier and easier to decide between: would we rather putrefy the perfumer’s ointment with our wearying of God; or would we like to be purified by Jesus with the hope of being with Him now and forever? It’s kind of a no-brainer, right?
1. How would you know if there was anything in your soul or your testimony that might be wearying God?
2. How might you be able to know when something in your life was not what God expected? What should you do then?
3. What does it mean to “purify” yourself? How should you practice this?
It is wearisome to God to hear people justify themselves in wicked practices. Those who think God can be a friend to sin, affront him, and deceive themselves. The scoffers said, Where is the God of judgment? but the day of the Lord will come. Matthew Henry (1662-1714), Commentary on Malachi 2.17
Pray Psalm 85.7-13.
Pray that God will free us from captivity to our times, our culture, and sinful self-interest, and that He will revive and renew us in His love.
Sing Psalm 85.7-13.
(Lyons: O Worship the King)
LORD, show us Your love; restore us, we pray!
And help us to hear the words that You say.
Speak peace to Your people; in truth let us stand.
We fear You; let glory and grace fill our land.
In Jesus God’s grace and truth are combined;
both goodness and peace in Him do we find.
Truth springs from the earth as He walks in our midst,
and righteousness flows from the heav’ns as a gift.
The LORD by His grace will give what is good;
our land will produce abundance of food.
And righteousness will go before the LORD’s face,
and make of His footsteps a way in this place.
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.