Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Malachi 1:2-4 I've read the back of the book and we win!

Today, we look at a really confusing set of verses in Malachi 1:2-5. Read the verses below and ask yourself what in the world is this aboutJ? Don’t panic I have a commentary that follows the verses that I hope will clarify some of the questions that might come up.

Malachi 1:2-4
The last Old Testament prophet, Malachi faced a nation that had grown indifferent toward God. He preached to stir their hearts, to turn them from apathy and renew their commitment to the Lord.

“I have loved you,” says the Lord.
“But you ask, ‘How have you loved us?’
“Was not Esau Jacob’s brother?” declares the Lord. “Yet I have loved Jacob, but Esau I have hated, and I have turned his hill country into a wasteland and left his inheritance to the desert jackals.”
Edom may say, “Though we have been crushed, we will rebuild the ruins.”
But this is what the Lord Almighty says: “They may build, but I will demolish. They will be called the Wicked Land, a people always under the wrath of the Lord. You will see it with your own eyes and say, ‘Great is the Lord—even beyond the borders of Israel!’ [1]

Ok, what is up with loving and hating twins?!!!!! Well, I am pretty sure based on many other scriptures God did not just “decide to hate someone.” I think this story needs to be seen as an example of two very different lifestyle choices these two sons made. The exact story of Jacob and Esau is actually found in Genesis. God prophesies the destiny of both twins. Sometimes we mistake God stating the future as God stating his plan. Knowing how someone will choose to behave does not mean it what we want for them. I am certain God would have preferred Esau and his descendants choose to serve him always.  I can promise you today that if I shake my dogs’ food dish the dogs will come running, but I am not the one deciding they will run to eat the food, but I do know the future or at least the 30 seconds after I shake the dog’s dishJ. In the Old Testament I believe we often assume when God states the future he is deciding the future. However, the Bible is full of other points about God that makes it clear we decide to accept or reject his plan—not God. In this case two twins choose very different destinies. God has the power to decide anything, but he gives us that choice.

So what are the two destinies of these twins and what do they mean? Jacob, the twin God loves, chose to serve God and he becomes the ancient ancestor of the Messiah, Jesus. God loves those who chose to serve him and in truth our destiny reveals to Messiah to future generations. Note: Jacob’s life was also full of moments of great sin, but God forgives when we come to him and in the end Jacob did just that!

On the other hand, Esau become a great leader like Jacob , but the father of a nation or group of people known for evil called the Edomites or Edom. Edom was a strong enemy of God and was known for many horrible atrocities including human sacrifice, sexual debauchery (particularly homosexuality), and they worshiped an idol who was in reality a front for satanic worship. God hated the evil.

With the above two descriptions of the two destinies of these twins and their descendants why do we care? Well, two key points come out.

1.      God loves and rewards those who choose to serve him. Most of us want to leave a heritage or something for our children. In another point, the promise of how God loved Jacob’s descendants is described in a more direct way for all who served God6, (extreme paraphrase) “God’s blessing sits our children’s children to the 50th generation.” What an incredible thing to realize that as we serve God he is so pleased he blesses our descendants because he loves our obedience so much!
2.      We live in a world that has evil. Sometimes it feels like evil wins too often. Well, that is how the fight with Edom seemed to the Hebrew people, but reread the following: Edom may say, “Though we have been crushed, we will rebuild the ruins.” But this is what the Lord Almighty says: “They may build, but I will demolish. They will be called the Wicked Land, a people always under the wrath of the Lord.

We waste so much time as Christians worrying about evil instead of just living in God’s blessing. Edom symbolized all evil—Relax—God’s got this—evil will lose—another way of putting it is this, “I’ve read the back of the book and we win!” You are under a sure plan to victory as your serve God and those who oppose God will lose eventually! You are a winner!

[1] The New International Version. 2011 (Mal 1:2–5). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

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