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Call To Return: Malachi 2:10-12

Malachi: REFOCUSED
Call To Return: Malachi 2:10-12
Pastor John Weathersby
Sunday October 31, 2021

I hope you ate your Wheaties and stretched your hands, we have work to do. Today we’ll see a purpose and standard in God for His elect that flows forward to us today. I pray we’re called to holy lives in Christ through the Prophet Malachi’s words for Israel.

Malachi 2:10–12 (ESV)
Judah Profaned the Covenant
10 Have we not all one Father? Has not one God created us? Why then are we faithless to one another, profaning the covenant of our fathers?

Our text opens with these three questions, which form our 3rd disputation. If you remember back to 1:2-5 Disputation 1, Israel was called to account for proper response to God’s covenant love and its demand for authentic worship.

Malachi 1:2-5 (ESV)
The Lord’s Love for Israel
2 “I have loved you,” says the Lord. But you say, “How have you loved us?” “Is not Esau Jacob’s brother?” declares the Lord. “Yet I have loved Jacob
3 but Esau I have hated. 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 Your own eyes shall see this, and you shall say, “Great is the Lord beyond the border of Israel!”

Next, in the second disputation, Malachi demonstrates their offenses related to worship and calls to account the Priests who’ve created this environment.

Malachi’s 3rd dispute, where we are today, is around Israel’s lack of faithfulness to the Covenant they have with God. These 3-step questions work their way carefully to demonstrating their disobedience and need to return:

Have we not all one Father? <— rhetorical
Has not one God created us? <— rhetorical
Why then are we faithless to one another, profaning the covenant of our fathers? <— the core

As we go through these disputes, it is essential to know that these are not decrees of finality; God is not dispensing final judgment on these unfaithful people. He is lovingly demonstrating their drift from their first love and calling them back.

Do you feel that?

Does that hit home?

Israel is called through scripture to be re-invigorated for holiness and consequently return to Him.

Maybe we need that.

A call to return to the mission of God from lives lived in perpetual vacation.

Have we not all, one father. The Prophet’s words here are a call that Israel is one people in Abraham. If a set-aside people in Abraham weren’t specifically in view here, the mention of “profaning the covenant of our fathers” would make no sense at all. What do I mean? This question asks Malachi’s hearers (and us) to reflect on whether God is father, in that all creation is by His handiwork. However, does Malachi come to the Egyptians and be surprised that they’re profaning the covenant of THEIR Egyptian fathers? No, because there is no covenant with the Egyptian fathers. So, the stepping through that Malachi is doing works against universalism and places God’s covenant people squarely in view. Malachi is re-establishing God’s sovereign election of Israel. Have we “Israel” not one Father “Abraham” is how we understand this rhetorical question.

Next, step 2; “has not one God created us.” Again, this comes AFTER we have Israel’s having one father in view. This point is important, as if Malachi weren’t addressing those in Abraham all having one father God of creation would be universalism. If universalism were in view the final question, “why are we faithless to one another violating the covenant” would be confusing, there was no universal covenant, just covenant in the linage of Abraham for the Sovereignly elected people of Israel.

The fatherhood of God over Israel is a theme in scripture, and God’s fatherhood as a theme isn’t universally applied but applied through his sovereign choice and over a seaside nation of people, not all people. Malachi is careful to communicate that.

Let us park on the idea of God as creator and on God as father. These concepts are as important as they are nuanced.

We said earlier, Malachi is not going to the Egyptians saying, ‘why have you violated the covenant with your fathers’, because there wasn’t a covenant with the Egyptian father. Consider God’s calling to the Pharaoh to free His (God’s) people from their slavery:

Exodus 4:22 (ESV)
22 Then you shall say to Pharaoh, ‘Thus says the Lord, Israel is my firstborn son,

Israel is my firstborn son.

Being a child of God comes by God’s electing grace. Specifically here God has chosen a “firstborn” people which draws on construct of the firstborn son having the rights to family inheritance. Dragging that construct forward, Jesus, as God’s own son has the right to inherit all that exists within His Father’s creation, as a matter of firstborn inheritance.

Hebrews 1:2 (ESV)
2 but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world.

Jesus, in the book of John had this to say on national-fatherhood its implications on inheritance:

John 8:35–45 (ESV)
35 The slave does not remain in the house forever; the son remains forever.
36 So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.
37 I know that you are offspring of Abraham; yet you seek to kill me because my word finds no place in you.
38 I speak of what I have seen with my Father, and you do what you have heard from your father.”
You Are of Your Father the Devil
39 They answered him, “Abraham is our father.” Jesus said to them, “If you were Abraham’s children, you would be doing the works Abraham did,
40 but now you seek to kill me, a man who has told you the truth that I heard from God. This is not what Abraham did.
41 You are doing the works your father did.” They said to him, “We were not born of sexual immorality. We have one Father—even God.”
42 Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love me, for I came from God and I am here. I came not of my own accord, but he sent me.
43 Why do you not understand what I say? It is because you cannot bear to hear my word.
44 You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies.
45 But because I tell the truth, you do not believe me.

There was this tension with those called Israel yet who had no reverence for God, prior to Jesus arrival, then after his arrival in further fulfillment of God’s eternal plan tried to hang still to sonship in Abraham rather than Christ. Reverence for God’s word and obedience to Him is fruits of His work in/on them as well as in/on us.

2 Corinthians 6:14–17 (ESV)
14 Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness?
15 What accord has Christ with Belial? Or what portion does a believer share with an unbeliever?
16 What agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; as God said,
“I will make my dwelling among them and walk among them,
and I will be their God,
and they shall be my people.
17  Therefore go out from their midst,
and be separate from them, says the Lord,
and touch no unclean thing;
then I will welcome you,

But sonship was never assumed by lineage but always a) by grace b) through faith.

The mark of Sonship is obedience.

Isaiah 43:1–7 (ESV)
Israel’s Only Savior
1 But now thus says the Lord,
he who created you, O Jacob,
he who formed you, O Israel:
“Fear not, for I have redeemed you;
I have called you by name, you are mine.
2  When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you;
when you walk through fire you shall not be burned,
and the flame shall not consume you.
3  For I am the Lord your God,
the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.
I give Egypt as your ransom,
Cush and Seba in exchange for you.
4  Because you are precious in my eyes,
and honored, and I love you,
I give men in return for you,
peoples in exchange for your life.
5  Fear not, for I am with you;
I will bring your offspring from the east,
and from the west I will gather you.
6  I will say to the north, Give up,
and to the south, Do not withhold;
bring my sons from afar
and my daughters from the end of the earth,
7  everyone who is called by my name,
whom I created for my glory,
whom I formed and made.”

In verse 1, of Isaiah 43 Israel are called by name later, in verse 7, everyone who is called by His name is, created and called for “His glory”, unified in a relationship with God for a specific purpose. Never called to vacation, always called to mission.

In that way specific and special sovereign electing way, God is Israels father.

Have we not all one Father? <— rhetorical
Has not one God created us? <— rhetorical
Why then are we faithless to one another, profaning the covenant of our fathers? <— the core

So since Israel is created by God, with an expressed purpose, as has been our theme in Malachi, the Priests should encourage learning in the Word and holiness 1:6, 2:10. God’s sovereignly selected and specific fatherhood of Israel demands faithfulness to that sovereign election:

Malachi 1:6 (ESV)
The Priests’ Polluted Offerings
6 “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 2:10 (ESV)
Judah Profaned the Covenant
10 Have we not all one Father? Has not one God created us? Why then are we faithless to one another, profaning the covenant of our fathers?

God, through his election has made the nation sons, as such brothers, as such family, and as family with a certain duty to one another as a distinct people set aside for obedience:

A few evidences of failure to familial duty:

Deuteronomy 32:5–6 (ESV)
5  They have dealt corruptly with him;
they are no longer his children because they are blemished;
they are a crooked and twisted generation.
6  Do you thus repay the Lord,
you foolish and senseless people?
Is not he your father, who created you,
who made you and established you?

Genesis 4:5–12 (ESV)
5 but for Cain and his offering he had no regard. So Cain was very angry, and his face fell.
6 The Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry, and why has your face fallen?
7 If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door. Its desire is contrary to you, but you must rule over it.”
8 Cain spoke to Abel his brother. And when they were in the field, Cain rose up against his brother Abel and killed him.
9 Then the Lord said to Cain, “Where is Abel your brother?” He said, “I do not know; am I my brother’s keeper?”
10 And the Lord said, “What have you done? The voice of your brother’s blood is crying to me from the ground.
11 And now you are cursed from the ground, which has opened its mouth to receive your brother’s blood from your hand.
12 When you work the ground, it shall no longer yield to you its strength. You shall be a fugitive and a wanderer on the earth.”

Genesis 37:27 (ESV)
27 Come, let us sell him to the Ishmaelites, and let not our hand be upon him, for he is our brother, our own flesh.” And his brothers listened to him.

These passages resonate with us as we tend to know that there is a unique tie among family. Jesus uses this uniqueness in:

Matthew 5:22 (ESV)
22 But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ will be liable to the hell of fire.

In the same way, Jesus’ disciples are brothers.

Matthew 12:46–50 (ESV)
Jesus’ Mother and Brothers
46 While he was still speaking to the people, behold, his mother and his brothers stood outside, asking to speak to him.
48 But he replied to the man who told him, “Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?”
49 And stretching out his hand toward his disciples, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers!
50 For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.”

As the Church, we are joined together as a family. In Christ, Brothers and sisters called to communal holiness and sometimes, like Israel, called back to faithful follower-ship of our one father God and Lord, Jesus.

This 3rd disputation of God through Malachi to His covenant people Israel calls them back to faith.

11 Judah has been faithless, and abomination has been committed in Israel and in Jerusalem. For Judah has profaned the sanctuary of the Lord, which he loves, and has married the daughter of a foreign god.
12 May the Lord cut off from the tents of Jacob any descendant of the man who does this, who brings an offering to the Lord of hosts!

Judah has been faithless.

Deuteronomy 7:3 (ESV)
3 You shall not intermarry with them, giving your daughters to their sons or taking their daughters for your sons,

Ezra 9:2 (ESV)
2 For they have taken some of their daughters to be wives for themselves and for their sons, so that the holy race has mixed itself with the peoples of the lands. And in this faithlessness the hand of the officials and chief men has been foremost.”

They’d drifted from Holiness, from concentration on the instruction from God for a royal priesthood which they were to be, as we said last week.

Exodus 19:6 (ESV)
6 and you shall be to me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.’ These are the words that you shall speak to the people of Israel.”

There is carry forward for us here. We too are called to be a family of brothers and sisters, called to obedient lives to God’s Glory, falling not under the Lordship of Abraham but Jesus Himself.

With that in view let’s be encouraged to live Holy set aside lives as Children of God under Jesus’ Lordship.

Hebrews 10:25 (ESV)
25 not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.

Let us not be lulled to lacking holiness and friendship with the World. Rather let us dwell in the Word on the Worthiness of Christ living as obedient family. Holding each other to account in love:

Philippians 3:8 (ESV)
8 Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus, my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, so that I may gain Christ.

The Prophet said of Israel that they’d, “Married the daughters of another God,” how about us we’re called to be:

2 Corinthians 6:14 (ESV)
14 Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness?

Church, we’re called to stand as truth not in an easy world that agrees but as a matter of battle. We want the world to agree with us. God wants us to disagree with the world and live differently from the inside – we’re on mission, not vacation. These are not decrees of finality for Israel. They’re a call to return to the mission. And we listen, because we’re sons and children of God’s!

Let us see the Warning of a Holy electing God who called Israel to Himself, had a purpose and standard for them, and sees God’s calling of us today to Himself and having a purpose and ideal for us too – it is a call to return, will we answer?

Pray, Observe, Apply.

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