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"Have we not all one Father? Has not one God created us? Why do we deal treacherously with one another By profaning the covenant of the fathers?" Malachi 2:10

Malachi 2

“And now, O priests, this commandment is for you.
If you will not hear,
And if you will not take it to heart,
To give glory to My name,”
Says the Lord of hosts,
“I will send a curse upon you,
And I will curse your blessings.
Yes, I have cursed them already,
Because you do not take it to heart.

“Behold, I will rebuke your descendants
And spread refuse on your faces,
The refuse of your Solemn feasts;
And one will take you away with it.
Then you shall know that I have sent 
this commandment to you,
That My covenant with Levi may continue,”
Says the Lord of hosts.
“My covenant was with him, one of life and peace,
And I gave them to him that he might fear Me;
So he feared Me
And was reverent before My name.
The law of truth was in his mouth,
And injustice was not found on his lips.
He walked with Me in peace and equity,
And turned many away from iniquity.

“For the lips of a priest should keep knowledge,
And people should seek the law from his mouth;
For he is the messenger of the Lord of hosts.
But you have departed from the way;
You have caused many to stumble at the law.
You have corrupted the covenant of Levi,”
Says the Lord of hosts.
“Therefore I also have made you contemptible and base
Before all the people,
Because you have not kept My ways
But have shown partiality in the law.”

Have we not all one Father?
Has not one God created us?
Why do we deal treacherously with one another
By profaning the covenant of the fathers?
Judah has dealt treacherously,
And an abomination has been committed 
in Israel and in Jerusalem,
For Judah has profaned
The Lord’s holy institution which He loves:
He has married the daughter of a foreign god.
May the Lord cut off from the tents of Jacob
The man who does this, being awake and aware,
Yet who brings an offering to the Lord of hosts!

And this is the second thing you do:
You cover the altar of the Lord with tears,
With weeping and crying;
So He does not regard the offering anymore,
Nor receive it with goodwill from your hands.
Yet you say, “For what reason?”
Because the Lord has been witness
Between you and the wife of your youth,
With whom you have dealt treacherously;
Yet she is your companion
And your wife by covenant.
But did He not make them one,
Having a remnant of the Spirit?
And why one?
He seeks godly offspring.
Therefore take heed to your spirit,
And let none deal treacherously with the wife of his youth.

“For the Lord God of Israel says
That He hates divorce,
For it covers one’s garment with violence,”
Says the Lord of hosts.
“Therefore take heed to your spirit,
That you do not deal treacherously.”

You have wearied the Lord with your words;
Yet you say,
“In what way have we wearied Him?”
In that you say,
“Everyone who does evil
Is good in the sight of the Lord,
And He delights in them,”
Or, “Where is the God of justice?”

"The Condition of the Leaders

[M]AL 2:1-17 {We have already seen that God's last message to the returned remnant, before the coming of the Lord, concerned their moral and spiritual condition. We have also briefly reviewed the general charges brought against the mass of the remnant, revealing their low condition. But, beside these general charges against all, this last message contains particular charges against the priests, or leaders of the people. These charges are brought before us in the second chapter of the Prophet Malachi.

[M]AL 2:2 {Before briefly looking at these charges, we do well to pay attention to the solemn way in which the chapter opens- "If ye will not hear and if ye will not lay it to heart, to give glory unto My name, saith the Lord of hosts, I will even send a curse upon you, and I will curse your blessings."

When God speaks to His people as to their moral and spiritual state, the least they can do is to hear, and lay to heart, what God may have to say. People who refuse to hear when God speaks are indeed in a hopeless case, be they saints or sinners. Refusal to hear brings down the chastening hand of the Lord upon His people. Their blessings are withered up.

And may we not ask, How stands the case with God's people today? Have we not to confess that while the condition of God's people is low, yet the most solemn and ominous sign of decay is that, in spite of repeated warnings, and though the Lord's hand is upon His people in chastening, there seems little evidence that they "hear" and "lay it to heart"?

Have we given the prophets a hearing? Teachers who instruct our minds we are ready enough to follow, but the prophet who speaks to the conscience we neglect or reject. Professing Christians may "heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears," but they will "stone the prophets" who warn them of their sins. And if there is no "hearing" the prophet, there will be no "laying to heart" the message that he brings. On every hand we are face to face with the low condition of God's people. The divisions, the contentions, the bitterness amongst His people are manifest on all sides. And yet how little are they laid to heart; how little mourning before the Lord; how little confession to one another; how little do we lay to heart the sorrow and shame to ourselves, and the dishonor to the Lord. We seem a great deal more anxious to prove that we are right than to own that we are wrong.

And must we not recognize that, as a result, the Lord's hand is upon His people in chastening? Thus there is much preaching, and little blessing amongst sinners; much ministry, and little progress amongst saints. The blessing is very largely withheld.

Remembering the solemn warnings of these introductory verses, may we have grace to "hear" and "lay to heart" this last message to the leaders of Israel, and hear therein a voice that speaks to ourselves with no uncertain sound.

First the prophet presents a beautiful picture of the priesthood as established by God in the beginning. We can only get a true estimate of our condition in the end of a dispensation by comparing it with the condition at the beginning. Thus only shall we learn the extent of our departure from what is according to the mind of God.

[M]AL 2:5-7 {In the beginning the priest was marked by (1) life, (2) peace, (3) the fear of the Lord, (4) the law of truth in his mouth, (5) iniquity not found in his lips, (6) a walk with God in peace and equity, and (7) blessing to others-turning them from iniquity and instructing them in knowledge. Such is the mind of the Lord for the one who is "the messenger of the Lord of hosts" in this dark world (verses 5-7).

In the light of this beautiful picture the prophet proceeds to unfold the condition of those who professed to be "the messengers of the Lord," and in doing so he brings five distinct charges against them.

[M]AL 2:8-9 {First. They were wrong in their relations to the Lord. "Ye are departed out of the way," says the prophet (verse 8). In the beginning the priest "feared Me" and "walked with Me," said the Lord. But now they had departed out of the way of life and peace, with the solemn result that, instead of turning many from iniquity, they "caused many to stumble" and brought themselves into contempt in the eyes of the people (verses 8 and 9).

[M]AL 2:10 {Second. They were wrong in their relations with one another. "Why do we deal treacherously every man against his brother?" inquires the prophet. Can we not supply the answer? Because they were wrong in their relations with the Lord. As one has said, "Satan first divided men from God, and then one man from another." The prophet seeks to correct this evil by reminding them that they have one Father and one God. And in our own day it is only as we view the people of God as one-children in one family of which God is the Father, and members of one body of which Christ is the Head-that we shall be able to deal faithfully with one another. But alas! departure from the Lord has been followed by contention, strife, bitterness, and unfaithfulness with one another.

[M]AL 2:11 {Third. They were wrong in their relations with the world. "Judah hath dealt treacherously... and hath married the daughter of a strange god" (verse 11). From this point the charges become more general. It is no longer exclusively the priests that are addressed, but Judah is now included in the common charge of worldliness, showing itself by worldly alliances of the most intimate character. But while all are involved in this charge, it is connected with the failure of the priests. The order of these charges is solemn and instructive. First the leaders were wrong with the Lord-they departed out of the way. Then they dealt unfaithfully with one another. And lastly, while the shepherds were wrangling, the sheep were wandering. The contentions of the leaders allowed the people of God to drift into the world and form unholy associations.

[M]AL 2:14 {Fourth. They were wrong in their family relations. They are charged with dealing treacherously (or "unfaithfully") with their wives (verse 14). If we are wrong with God we shall be wrong in every other relationship. If we form unholy alliances with the world, it will not be long before we follow the unholy practices of the world in the most intimate relationships of life. In order to counteract this the prophet reminds them of the oneness of the marriage relationship, so that amongst His people there should be found "a godly seed." How deeply important this principle. If the children are to be holy, let the parents be holy.

[M]AL 2:16 {Fifth. They were wrong in their dealings in discipline. They dealt treacherously against their wives, putting them away on trivial pretenses. But, says the prophet, "the Lord, the God of Israel, saith that He hateth putting away" (verse 16). Amongst the remnant, however, it was far otherwise, for we read, "One covereth violence with his garment." Under the garb of maintaining order they acted with the greatest violence. While this passage is directly concerned with men wrongfully putting away their wives, the principle is capable of wider application. It may well be considered in connection with "putting away" an offender from amongst the company of God's people, and is a solemn warning against violently getting rid of a brother without adequate and scriptural grounds.

Amongst the remnant, men put away their wives, not for sin, but to gratify their own selfish interests. And, alas! amongst the people of God have there not been many glaring instances when known godly persons have been put away, not for sin, but simply because the requirements of a party demanded their exclusion?

In reading these solemn charges we cannot but be struck with the recurrence of the word "treacherously." It occurs in verses 10, 11, 14, 15, and 16. In each case it may be more correctly translated "unfaithfully." Having departed out of the way they were unfaithful in every circle. They were unfaithful every man with his brother; they were unfaithful in relation to the world; they were unfaithful in the domestic circle; and they were unfaithful in their discipline.

What a solemn picture does this last message present of the remnant of God's people, who outwardly occupied a right position and who outwardly were carrying on the Lord's service. And if we are at all intelligent in the things of God, it is only too easy to see amongst the people of God today the counterpart of this remnant. Amongst those to whom much light has been given, is it not true there has been a grave departure "out of the way," and that, too, on the part of many of the leaders? Departure from God has been followed by dissension amongst leaders-unfaithfulness to one another. Jealousy, envy, strife, evil speaking have too often marked leaders in their attitude to one another. This again has been the occasion of many turning aside to the world, and unholy alliances with the world have led to the unholy practices of the world intruding into the family life of God's people. And if we have been wrong in our own homes, little wonder that we have been unable to govern in the house of God. "If a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the Church of God?" (1 Tim. 3:5).

Is there not enough in these charges to bring us to our knees in humiliation, confession, and supplication? May we hear therein the voice of God speaking to our consciences, and may we lay this last message to heart."

Hamilton Smith
The Word of the Lord by Malachi: The Last Message

*Photo by Jamie Kern on Unsplash

This post first appeared on The Word Of God, please read the originial post: here

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"Have we not all one Father? Has not one God created us? Why do we deal treacherously with one another By profaning the covenant of the fathers?" Malachi 2:10


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