June 14, 2023
Thank you for your commitment to pray each Wednesday for revival and for our prodigals. The late Timothy Keller once said, “Prayer is awe before an infinite force, and yet it is intimacy with a personal friend.” The name of that infinite force is Yahweh, Jehovah, LORD, God, Jesus Christ, Son of God. As we pray, we worship, and, at the same time, draw closer to our Lord and Savior.
The book of Malachi is the last in our consideration of the Old Testament. He was the last voice of God, the last messenger before the 400 silent years after which John the Baptist would introduce the Messiah to the nation of Israel and to the world.
The expression “my name” or “his name” is mentioned 10 times in this little book of 4 chapters. Like anyone's name, His name represents His person: His character, His actions, His ways, His plans, His desires, His heart, and His reputation.
God had demonstrated his love for them (Malachi 1:2). He reminded them of His fatherhood over them (Malachi 1:6). He stated His sovereign kingship (Malachi 1:14). He announced His presence among them and was a witness to their faithlessness (Malachi 2:14). He proclaimed his patient, listening ear (Malachi 2:17). He declared His unchanging character and His willingness to receive them back (Malachi 3:6). He promised them blessing when they feared Him (Malachi 4:2). All this reveals the wonder of His name!
His name was well known among His people by the time Malachi came around. They knew the stories of God’s awesomeness in bringing His people from Egypt to Canaan through Moses, and the victories He accomplished through Joshua. They were well acquainted with God’s power and glory through kings like David, Solomon, and Hezekiah. They had just come through the 70-year captivity and experienced the goodness of God in preservation from a pagan nation and His faithfulness in bringing them back to their homeland.
They were well aware of who their God was and the holiness of His name.
Sadly, as Malachi addressed the priests of Israel, he says, “‘A son honors his father, and a servant his master. If then I am a father, where is my honor? And if I am a master, where is my fear?’ says the LORD of hosts to you, O priests, who despise my name. But you say, ‘How have we despised your name?’” (Malachi 1:6 ).
The name of God was being despised, and not only despised, but there was also an unwillingness to own the problem. With no regard for the laws of God, they brought polluted food and unfit animals in sacrifice to God, which was an abomination. It brought no delight to God whatsoever (Malachi 1:10).
Malachi went on to remind his audience that God is not dependent on His privileged, chosen people Israel. He looked forward and said, “‘For from the rising of the sun to its setting my name will be great among the nations, and in every place incense will be offered to my name, and a pure offering. For my name will be great among the nations’, says the LORD of hosts” (Malachi 1:11). Then he added, “‘For I am a great King,’ says the LORD of hosts, ‘and my name will be feared among the nations’” (Malachi 1:14).
It is amazing that the name of our God and King is being praised across the globe each and every day! It rises from the quiet hearts of devoted believers in persecuted lands like North Korea and Afghanistan. It rises from the melodious voices of African saints. Whether it is 2 or 3 in the Arctic or a megachurch in the large cities of America, the name of the LORD is being worshiped!
Imagine a future day when the King has returned and the whole world with one heart will lift up their voices in praise saying, “Great is the King!”
Malachi continues to address the priests and says, “‘And now, O priests, this command is for you. If you will not listen, if you will not take it to heart to give honor to my name,’ says the LORD of hosts, ‘then I will send the curse upon you and I will curse your blessings’” (Malachi 2:1-2).
This was a call to repentance! God’s people were not listening and as a result they were experiencing the judgment of God. God in His grace was letting them know the consequences of not honoring His name and thereby giving them the opportunity to turn back to Him.
Then he mentioned Levi, the tribe selected by God to be the priests and handle the holy things. He said, “‘So shall you know that I have sent this command to you, that my covenant with Levi may stand,’ says the LORD of hosts. ‘My covenant with him was one of life and peace, and I gave them to him. It was a covenant of fear, and he feared me. He stood in awe of my name’” (Malachi 2:4-5).
They, like us, needed to realize that God is holy. His name is to be feared and held in awe! James speaks in similar tones as he speaks to believers about the rich saying: “Are they not the ones who blaspheme the honorable name by which you were called?” (James 2:7).
Israel had forgotten who their God was. We need to be careful not to fall into the same trap!
The words of Chapter 3 are most encouraging: and “Then those who feared the LORD spoke with one another. The LORD paid attention and heard them, and a book of remembrance was written before him of those who feared the LORD and esteemed his name” (Malachi 3:16).
The book of Hebrews also reminds us of this: “For God is not unjust so as to overlook your work and the love that you have shown for his name in serving the saints, as you still do” (Hebrews 6:10). The future is bright for those who love the LORD. “But for you who fear my name, the sun of righteousness shall rise with healing in its wings. You shall go out leaping like calves from the stall” (Malachi 4:2).
On that day, all the sin will be forgotten. All the failure will be over. All the heartache and tears of life will be forever passed, and all the brokenness will be healed.
The true Son will rise, like the sun rising over the horizon after a dark night, bringing light, life, and warmth in radiant beams. The LORD is our righteousness, and we are secure in Him!
Great is the name of the LORD!
Love in Christ,
Bryan and Rachel