Malachi 2-4 Worship Appropriately

              WORSHIP APPROPRIATELY
        Malachi 2:17-4-6           August 26 2007

     The Lord charged His people with making Him weary
    with their words. They had become doubtful and
    cynical concerning God in their lives. They charged God
    with injustice.
    To give them hope in the future judgment, the Lord
    announced He was going to send a messenger to
    announce His coming . When the Lord came, He would
    purify His people and enable them to worship in
    righteousness (Mal. 2:17-3:6).
    Then He would bless them without Measure
    (Mal.3:7-12).
    God promised this remnant a close and rewarding
    relationship with Him (Mal. 3:13-18).
    Before that day Elijah would appear to prepare people
    for the coming day. God’s final instructions were:
    remember and practice Moses’ instructions, statutes,
    and ordinances (Mal. 4:4-6).

    1. Worship with Righteousness (Mal. 3:1-5)

Mal. 3:1   “See, I will send my messenger, who will prepare
the way before me. Then suddenly the Lord you are seeking
will come to his temple; the messenger of the covenant,
whom you desire, will come,” says the LORD Almighty. 3:2  
But who can endure the day of his coming? Who can stand
when he appears? For he will be like a refiner’s fire or a
launderer’s soap. 3:3   He will sit as a refiner and purifier
of silver; he will purify the Levites and refine them like
gold and silver. Then the LORD will have men who will bring
offerings in righteousness, 3:4   and the offerings of Judah
and Jerusalem will be acceptable to the LORD, as in days gone
by, as in former years. 3:5   “So I will come near to you for
judgment. I will be quick to testify against sorcerers,
adulterers and perjurers, against those who defraud laborers
of their wages, who oppress the widows and the fatherless,
and deprive aliens of justice, but do not fear me,” says the
LORD Almighty.

    My Messenger. The Hebrew for these words is MALAKI;
    it is normally used of a priest or prophet (Hag 1:13 ).
    This is fulfilled in John the Baptist (Mt 11:10; Mk 1:2;
    Lk 1:76). Who will prepare the way. When the Lord comes,
    it will be to purify (Mal. 3:3) and judge (Mal.3:5), but he
    will mercifully send one before him to prepare his people
    (Mal.4:5-6 ;Isa 40:3). The Lord you are seeking. . . Whom
    you Desire, well come. (Hag 2:7) . Messenger of the
    Covenant. The Messiah, who as the Lord’s representative
    will confirm and establish the covenant (Isa 42:6).
    Day of His coming. The day of the Lord (Mal.4:1; Isa 2:11,
    17,20). Malachi announces the Lord’s coming to complete
    God’s work in history, especially the work he outlines in
    the rest of his book. His word is fulfilled in the
    accomplishments of the Messiah. Who can stand. . . ? Those
    who desire the Lord’s coming must know that clean hands
    and a pure heart are required ( Psalms 24:3-4; Isa 33:
    14-15). Refiner’s fire. (Isa 1:25; Zec 13:8-9 ). Launderer’s 
    soap. (Isa 7:3 ). White clothes signified purity
    ( Mk 9:3; Rev 3:5).
    Purify the Levites. Those who are supposed to be
    “messengers” of the Lord and who serve at the altar
    will be purged of their sins and unfaithfulness —such as
    the Lord has rebuked in (Mal.1:6-2:9).
    Be Acceptable. (Mal.1:8 ). Days gone by. Probably the time
    of Moses and Phinehas (Mal.2:5).
    When he comes, the Lord will both purify the Levites
    (Mal.3:3-4) and judge the people. Sorcerers. Common in the
    ancient Near East (Ex 7:11; Dt 18:10).

    2. Worship with Tithes (Mal. 3:8-10)

Mal. 3:8   “Will a man rob God? Yet you rob me. But you ask,
‘How do we rob you?’ In tithes and offerings. 3:9   You are
under a curse —the whole nation of you —because you are
robbing me. 3:10   Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse,
that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says
the LORD Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the
floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you
will not have room enough for it.

    Return. . . and I will return. If the Lord is to come for
    Israel’s redemption, she must repent.
    Curse. (Mal.2:2 ). Storehouse. The treasury rooms of the
    sanctuary (1Ki 7:51; 2Ch 31:11-12; Ne 13:12). Floodgate
    of Haven. Elsewhere the idiom refers to abundant
    provision of food (2Ki 7:2,19; Ps 78:23-24). Pour out. . .
    Blessing. The promised covenant blessing (Dt 28:12;
    Isa 44:3).
    The Lord accused His people of turning from His laws and
    refusing them. He promised if they would return to Him ,
    He would return to them. Someone asked how they could
    return to the Lord(Mal.3:7). The Lord surprising answer
    was through regular tithing and giving . Moses had taught
    Israel to tithe (Deut.14:22-27;Lev.27:30). Israel had turned
    from this practice, refusing to keep it.
    Tithing is a biblical way to worship God. It is the Biblical
    standard and the beginning point for giving that God has
    established for believers in their stewardship of
    possessions. Tithing is to be a willing and faithful
    response to God’s expectation by His people.

    3. Worship with Fear (Mal. 3:16-18)

Mal. 3:16   Then those who feared the LORD talked with each
other, and the LORD listened and heard. A scroll of
remembrance was written in his presence concerning those
who feared the LORD and honored his name. 3:17   “They will
be mine,” says the LORD Almighty, “in the day when I make up
my treasured possession. I will spare them, just as in
compassion a man spares his son who serves him. 3:18   And
you will again see the distinction between the righteous and
the wicked, between those who serve God and those who do not.

    Those who feared the Lord. Those who had not given way
    to doubts and cynicism. Talk with each other. In the face
    of the widespread complaining against God (Mal.3:14-15),
    they sought mutual encouragement in fellowship. Scroll of
    remembrance. Analogous to the records of notable deeds
    kept by earthly rulers (Est 6:1-3; Isa 4:3; Da 7:10; 12:1).
    Honored His name. Contrast the priests (Mal.1:12) and many
    among the people (Mal.3:14-15; 2:17).
    My treasured possession. (Ex 19:5). Spare them. In the day
    of judgment (Mal.4:1-2). Who serves Him. (Mal.1:6).
    You will again see. As they apparently do not now see;
    hence their cynicism. The righteous and the wicked
    (Mal.2:17) .

        Summary:

            Malachi means "My messenger." This was between
    450 and 400 B.C. the people in Jerusalem were
    discouraged and had drifted away from the Lord . They were
    still poor and needy several decades after exiles had begun
     returning from Babylon. They thought none of the prophecies
    of better days been fulfilled.
            Here God urged His People to turn to Him and honor
            Him with faithful and wholehearted Commitment.
            Those today who worship God with reverence and fear

            are His special treasure. He will be compassionate to

            them on the day of His coming . Until that time, we can

            worship God appropriately when we come before Him

            with Reverence.