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Malachi-Detailed Outline
A. An Unholy Nation
Malachi 1:1 Introduction
Malachi 1:2 God’s statement and people’s objections in form of question is given. “I have loved you”…Oh, really, how…?
Malachi 1:3-5 God’s response: God compares experience of Jacob vs. Esau (Israel vs. Edom). God chose Israel while Edom has been evicted from their land. Other nations would be blessed through Israel’s blessing.
Malachi 1:6-9 Disrespect through services and sacrifices. “You have despised my name”…Oh, really, how…? The Priests have no respect for the Lord. They show disrespect by putting defiled food on altar and by using blind, lame animals they show contempt for worship. They wouldn’t even give those animals to the governor. Why, then, do they offer them to God?
Malachi 1:10-14 Critique of the priesthood…an attitude problem. Ironically, Gentiles acknowledge God as God of all. Jews are perfunctory in their worship. Priests are “bored” with their duties. Their job was to guarantee unblemished animals for sacrifice. They couldn’t have cared less. God gives warning: if they renege on their tasks…He will find others to revere His name.
B. A Faithless Priesthood
Malachi 2:1-2:9 A rebuke for the priests: Attempt to restore worship to its rightful place. Worship is an expression of a life lived with God. Job was to instruct the faithful regarding the Lord. Failed on both accounts…were simply indifferent. If they don’t change their ways, their blessings will be cursed. They have violated the covenant he had made with Levi. They will be humiliated and despised among the people.
C. A Treacherous People
Malachi 2:10-16 A problem with intermarriages. “Have we not all one father?” How then are we faithless? Intermarriage oftentimes led to integration and acceptance of foreign gods. Some people were aware of God’s displeasure. Wept and wailed at the altar, wondered why they were not blessed. Many of them were divorcing (Israelites wives) and marrying foreigners. (Scholars think having two wives was still permissible at this point. So the problem might have been that Gentile fathers insisted they divorce the Israelite wife before allowing them to marry Gentile daughters. In a sense they were sinning twice…against the wife and against God). Hence, their sacrifices were no longer acceptable to God. The Lord says, “I hate divorce.” Divorce had become commonplace, symptom of society’s decline. Divorce was legal, but took its toll on human relationships (Some scholars think this whole section is a metaphor, not about human relationships but about separation from God). Faithful human relationships reflect faithfulness to God.
D. A Nation of Robbers
Malachi 2:17-3:5 Justice and Judgment: “I am wearied with your words”…Oh, really, how…? People question God’s justice. Evildoers seem to be receiving God’s blessing. Therefore, there is no justice in the world. A messenger will be sent to prepare the way for the advent of the Messiah. The Day of the Lord is that day when God enters history and does His work. God will purify the faithful and eliminate the unfaithful. God will not abandon His people…for good or evil.
Malachi 3:5-12 Problem with Tithing: “The people are robbing me”…Oh, really, how…? God affirms He is immutable (that’s why he hasn’t destroyed them). People inquire what he wants in return. They should return to practice of tithing and offerings. As it is, they are robbing God. If they do what is right, they will receive an abundant return on their investment. “All the nations will call you blessed, for yours will be a delightful land”.
Malachi 3:13-15 People complained that God is unjust. “Your words have opposed God” – Oh, really, how…? The people have said the wicked prosper; faithful suffer.
E. A Faithful Remnant to be Vindicated
Malachi 3:16-18 Scroll for remembering. Some of the faithful listened to God. Their names were written on a scroll of remembrance in God’s presence. These faithful witnesses will be God’s treasured possessions. On the Day of Judgment, He will spare them. Then all will see that God is just and He acts justly
Malachi 4:1-6 The Day of the Lord
Malachi 4:1-3 That will be a day of judgment for the wicked. It will be a day of fulfillment for the righteous. God’s intended order for the world will be realized.
Malachi 4:4-6 Moses and Elijah: Call to obey the Law of Moses. Deliberate joining of the “law and the prophets”. Call to Elijah who will come to announce the advent of the Messiah (some identify John the Baptist as this person).

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