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The Old Testament prophets were spokesmen for for their generation more than the future.
They were the proclaimers of timeless truths about God, humankind, and the critical issues of life.
“The Modern Message of the Minor prophets” is the theme for Sunday mornings for the coming months.
Today we are talking about Obey God Because You Love Him.
Sin in the Family
10 Do we not all have one Father? Has not one God created us? Why do we deal treacherously with one another, profaning the covenant of our fathers [with God]?
Malachi 1:2-5 (AMP)
2 “I have loved you,” says the Lord. But you say, “How and in what way have You loved us?” “Was not Esau Jacob’s brother?” declares the Lord. “Yet I loved Jacob (Israel);
3 but [in comparison with My love for Jacob] I have hated Esau (Edom), and I have made his mountains a wasteland, and have given his inheritance to the jackals of the wilderness.”
4 Though [impoverished] Edom says, “We have been beaten down, but we will return and build up the ruins.” Thus says the Lord of hosts, “They may build, but I will tear down; and men will call them the Wicked Territory, the people against whom the Lord is indignant forever.”
5 Your own eyes will see this and you will say, “The Lord is great and shall be magnified beyond the border of Israel!”
Father, we remember that Jesus was once offered all the material things in the world if He would fall down and worship satan.
We also remember that He refused because He realised it was a bad deal.
Help us always keep our priorities straight and to view all the kingdoms in this world from the perspective of Him who said, “Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust corrupts.”
Help us not only recognise that giving is holy to God, but realise also that our motive in giving is of equal concern to you.
Knowing that you love a cheerful giver Lord may we bring our gifts to you gladly today.
In Jesus name we pray.
The last prophetic voice in Israel before John the Baptist and Jesus was Malachi.
He actually lived after the golden age of prophecy had started to wane, but his insights equaled, and in some cases, exceeded anything to be found in the messages of his predecessors.
He possessed a concept of God’s universal kingdom as great as Isaiah.
His high and holy view of marriage was worthy of hearing.
His teaching that divine love is holy love rooted in God’s majesty is up there with Hosea’s.
Although he came last, there was nothing inferior or second rate about this final Old Testament spokesman for God.
Malachi stood far above any man of his day and compares favourably with any prophet of any period.
What about Malachi’s background?
Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty.
When any generation has been robbed of its familiar gods of material security, progress, and human self sufficiency by the forces of agnosticism, trouble, and despair, then comes God’s time.
That time had arrived for Judah!
Haggai and Zechariah had led the people to build the temple, but now the people’s spiritual life was slipping backwards.
A need existed for a man of God to declare the divine counsel without compromise.
There was a man available, Malachi.
We find three main themes in his book.
- Dreamers must face reality.
Deep scars were left on Israel because of the post exile age’s bitter frustration.
The returning captives came to Jerusalem with tremendous enthusiasm, aspiring to reestablish the glorious days of Israel.
They believed that the promises of the prophets who preceded them would come to pass with amazing and literal accuracy in their day.
They looked for the land to produce a miraculous abundance and for all nations to serve them.
How disappointed they were!
Every dreamer must, somewhere down the line, face the cold, hard facts of life.
Dreams may motivate us for the future, but dreams never win the game!
Four strong personalities preceded Malachi.
Haggai and Zechariah were the prophets of that time.
Ezra and Nehemiah likewise played an important part in the history of this period.
Ezra led the group from Babylon to Jerusalem and then taught the law to the Israelites.
Nehemiah was a layman who left a place of personal prestige in the king’s service to come to Jerusalem to lead the people in rebuilding a great wall around the city to replace the one that had been destroyed.
Ezra followed him with another great teaching program.
But always, every time the people went back to their careless living and superficial commitment.
Malachi came on the scene at the close of the work of these great people during a time of discouragement and moral regression.
He had to remind them again and again that a great nation is not built on dreams but on deeds.
How true is this of life in any generation!
Dreams are important, but they alone are not enough.
We need a foundation!
Like in everything else, we receive our greatest example in “dreaming and doing” from our Saviour.
2. God’s presence is purifying.
Precious metal is very rarely found without other substances being found within it.
The refiner’s work is to free it from these lesser things.
He heats the ore mixed with lead in a crucible and blows air on it until the lead is oxidised.
The impurities rise to the surface and create a film that is removed.
The refiner watches the process closely and keeps the heat at the proper temperature.
The colour becomes clearers the impurities disappear.
He knows when the process is finished because he sees his own face reflected in the molten metal.
Malachi used this figure of speech in Malachi 3:2 (AMP) to convey the fact that God is constantly at work in the lives of His loved ones.
Malachi 3:2 (AMP)
2 But who can endure the day of His coming? And who can stand when He appears? For He is like a refiner’s fire and like launderer’s soap [which removes impurities and uncleanness].
Adversity is often the greatest blessing a Christian can encounter.
Suffering drives people to knock at the gate of God in prayer.
God had disciplined Israel because He loved them and saw the possibility of using them in His work.
Likewise, God must refine us in the furnace of disappointment and tears.
But when He sees His image reflected in us, He knows that His work has been successful.
3. The King is coming.
Old Testament prophecy concludes with a clear statement that the ‘Sun of Righteousness” will “Arise with healing in His wings” (verse 4:2), a clear reference to the coming of Jesus Christ.
Also, Malachi said that God will send “the prophet Elijah” to “turn the hearts of the parents to their children” (Verses 4:5-6).
The New Testament says that this was John the Baptist in Matthew 11:14 and Mark 9:11 and 13.
However dark Israel’s history was, God never failed to speak through His prophets a message of hope and deliverance.
The great theme of the Old Testament is God’s redemptive work both present and future.
God chose Abraham as His instrument, promising that in his seed all the nations of the earth would be blessed.
For us also the promise is sure.
Our King is coming.
We don’t know when, but we know He is coming.
Therefore we should wait, watch, and work!
All is both law and love!
God commands us, but we do not obey merely through a sense of obligation.
We obey because we have been redeemed.
Any other motive for service than that of love will fall short at the crisis time.
We may do certain things because we fear God and His wrath, but maturity will not come until we learn that the love of Christ is the constraining force for all of our Christian service.
Faith and hope are great, but love is the greatest of all!
Until next time
Stay in the Blessings
I really want to encourage you to be diligent with your Bible study time, because God has so much more for us than we can get from just going to church once or twice a week and hearing someone else talk about the Word.
When you spend time with God, your life will change in amazing ways, because God is a Redeemer.
Theres nothing thats too hard for Him, and He can make you whole, spirit, soul and body!
You’re important to God, and you’re important to us at www.refinerylife.org
When it comes to prayer, we believe that God wants to meet your needs and reveal His promises to you.
So whatever you’re concerned about and need prayer for we want to be here for you! Or even if you just want to say Hi, you can contact us
2020 IS A YEAR OF CLARITY
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