Malachi 1 1 The oracle of the word of the Lord to Israel by Malachi. 1 The Lord ’s Love for Israel 2 a “I have loved you,” says the Lord . b But you say, “How have you loved us?” “Is not Esau c Jacob’s brother?” declares the Lord . “Yet d I have loved Jacob 3 but Esau I have hated. e I have laid waste his hill country and left his heritage to jackals of the desert.” 4 If Edom says, “We are shattered but we will rebuild the ruins,” the Lord of hosts says, “They may build, but I will tear down, and they will be called ‘the wicked country,’ and ‘the people with whom the Lord is angry forever.’” 5 f Your own eyes shall see this, and you shall say, “Great is the Lord beyond the border of Israel!”
Main point summary
God's word through Malachi, i.e. his visible proof of love to Israel, in justice and mercy, will result in Israel extolling him, despite questioning his love earlier.
The oracle of the word of the Lord to Israel by Malachi. 1
The burden: the word of the Lord to Israel, through Malachi.
a “I have loved you,”
"I have loved you,"
says the Lord .
says the Lord.
b But you say,
Yet you say,
“How have you loved us?”
"How have you loved us?"
“Is not Esau c Jacob’s brother?”
"Esau is the twin (yet older, 'privileged') brother of Israel,"
declares the Lord .
the Lord declares.
“Yet d I have loved Jacob
"In spite of that, I have loved Israel
but Esau I have hated.
but hated Esau.
e I have laid waste his hill country
I have made his hill country a desolation
and left his heritage to jackals of the desert.”
and left Esau's heritage to the jackals of the desert."
If Edom says,
If Esau says,
“We are shattered
"Though we are shattered
but we will rebuild the ruins,”
we will rebuild our shattered ruins,"
the Lord of hosts says,
Then the Lord of hosts responds,
“They may build,
"They may build,
but I will tear down,
yet I will tear down,
and they will be called
and they will be called
‘the wicked country,’
'the wicked country'
and ‘the people with whom the Lord is angry forever.’”
and 'the people who bear the Lord's anger forever.'"
f Your own eyes shall see this,
Your own eyes will see all of this that is done to Esau and what was done to you,
and you shall say,
and you will declare,
“Great is the Lord beyond the border of Israel!”
"The Lord is truly great! He is great above and beyond the borders of Israel!"
Note God's loving elective call and his justice in condemnation both resulting in the praise of his name.
"I have loved you..." We serve God. We are disciplined. We offer God his due. We are involved in multiple ministries as a church. But where is God's love toward us? Yes, we know the cross; we know Jesus, we know the gospel. But where is God's love in our real, everyday lives? We've asked for help with our mortgages in vain, our children rebel, our work situations are progressing from bad to worse, the government prefers to persecute us, our numbers are diminishing, we've asked for healing and see disease and death instead. God is loving? Sure! We deserve better than this if that were really true. "...yet you say 'How?' " God's response is not a comforting cliché we are often used to hearing. "Remember Esau, Jacob's twin brother - born to Rebekah and Isaac? Remember his privileges and rights? Good. In spite of being the privileged one, I loved his brother Jacob, the cheat - the unprivileged, cunning, sinful younger brother - and I hated Esau. I loved you and hated your brother." God calls Israel and us to remember and begin to comprehend his unfathomable love. He calls us to do so by contrasting (and thus highlighting) this love against his hatred of Esau, the privileged, older twin brother of Jacob. When God does so, our own blurry eyes clear up and "shall see this": We immediately see that God's love toward us was undeserved - we (and Israel) had nothing in our favour and everything against (Malachi 1:2; cf. Romans 9:6-13), yet God chose to love us. Sheer mercy! We also see what we did deserve from God , i.e. exactly what Esau earned - desolation, destruction, depravity and despising - God's just wrath in full, permanent measure (Malachi 1:3-4). We thus behold the majesty of God. The same God who justly wipes out wicked nations unfathomably loves tiny, wicked Jacob? Tiny, wicked Israel? Tiny, wicked me? (Malachi 1:5) When our eyes are opened thus, what else is there to say in response? "The Lord is truly great! He is great above and beyond the borders of Israel!"
There are two responses given by the people of Israel to the love of God - "How have you loved us?" and "Great is the Lord beyond the border of Israel!" Which one reflects my heart's response? Do I live in the light God's elective love? What does that tell me about my spiritual 'eyes'? Where all is God great, according to his word through Malachi? What does that tell me about my greatness? How does that change the way I think about and approach God? Do I think that I am sovereign over my circumstances? Do I assume that I am a slave to them? Or, do I realise my role as a steward of these circumstances as a means to proclaim his glory? Why does God talk about his love in the light of his hatred toward Esau? Can we isolate God's love from his justice, wrath and greatness? Do we? What happens when we do? What needs to change? Do I praise God because I have to or because I want to? What response will God get in the passage? What response will he get from me? Why?