Tuesday, July 29, 2014

How Can We Know Yahweh Really Loves Us? (Malachi 1.1-5)

Scripture: Malachi 1.1-5
Translation: 1.1The oracle of the message of Yahweh to Israel by the hand of Malachi [My-Messenger]. 2“I have loved you,” Yahweh says. But you say, “How have You loved us?” Wasn’t Jacob’s brother Esau? —Yahweh’s proclamation—and I have loved Jacob. 3I have hated Esau, and I’ve made his mountains a wasteland and his inheritance a wilderness for jackals. 4If Edom says, “We were obliterated, but let’s go back and rebuild the ruins.” Yahweh of Armies says the following: “They may rebuild, but I will tear [it] down. They will call them a territory of wickedness, and the people that Yahweh cursed forever. 5And your eyes will see, and you will say, ‘May Yahweh be magnified beyond the territory of Israel.’”

1.      Structure:
a.       Whole Book
                                                              i.      Heading, 1.1
                                                            ii.      Case 1: Denial of God’s Love (1.2-5)
                                                          iii.      Case 2: Denial of Honor to God (1.6-2.9)
                                                          iv.      Case 3: Rejection of Godly Marriage (2.10-16)
1.      Part A: Undefensible: Marrying an Idol Worshiper
2.      Part B: Flagrant: Divorce/Adultery of the wife of their youth
                                                            v.      Case 4: Rejection of Justice (2.17-3.5)
                                                          vi.      Case 5: Rejection of Repentance and Tithing (3.6-12)
                                                        vii.      Case 6: Rejection of the Value of Serving God (3.13-15)
                                                      viii.      Exonerated: The Faithful (3.16-4.3 [heb. 3.16-21])
                                                          ix.      Closing Statements: (4.4-6 [heb. 3.22-24])
1.      Call to Obey (4.4 [heb. 3.22])
2.      Call to Wait (4.5-6 [heb. 3.23-24])
b.      Section: Case One
                                                              i.      Assertion: Yahweh says to Israel, “I love you”
                                                            ii.      Denial: “How have You loved us [implicit, “we can’t tell”]?”
                                                          iii.      Rebuttal: “I’ve loved you, and hated Esau, whom I’ve punished and destroyed, and will keep destroyed and shamed.
                                                          iv.      Conclusion: You will see and recognize Yahweh’s greatness.
2.      Themes
a.       Love vs. hate
b.      Justice/punishment
c.       saying
d.      law court
e.       destruction
f.       Sovereignty of Yahweh
1.      Outline:
a.       Yahweh is Sovereign and Involved (v.1, vv.2-5)
                                                              i.      Yahweh is the One Who gives the message, the One Who is speaking, but His mouthpiece is Malachi, His Messenger, which shows that God is in control,
                                                            ii.      But it also shows He is involved because He cares enough to send us a message and to use a human to communicate the message. God using Malachi actually shows us how much value He puts on us, not how little
                                                          iii.      Throughout the passage, there is an assumption that God is in control of all, that He can choose or not choose whoever He wants, that He can render justice however He wants, that He can show His love how He wants. The whole passage concludes with the people recognizing that Yahweh is Great everywhere, not just in Israel. He is totally and completely sovereign everywhere in every way.
b.      Yahweh truly loves us
                                                              i.      Sometimes we forget that God loves us, but here God tells us clear that He loves us as His people. He loves you. He loves our church. He loves our youth group. He loves our college ministry. He loves our adults, our kids, our whole church. But not just our church—He loves the churches around us too. He loves the Orchard, Hebron, KCC, Grace, Monte de Sion, Antioch, Willow Creek, Harvest, and not just Chicago churches, He loves churches all over America and even in Guatemala, which is why three of our missionaries are there right now.
                                                            ii.      Unfortunately, sometimes we are like Israel in this passage. We can’t see that God loves us. God tells us He loves us, but we tell Him that we can’t tell. I don’t know why exactly they had trouble believing that Yahweh loved them, but it may be because of the exile and harsh punishment and judgment they had just received.
                                                          iii.      However, Not seeing the love of God does not change the fact that God loves us. Sometimes we have trouble seeing it because we are hurting or distracted or scared, but the truth is that if you are in Christ, if you have put your whole faith in Jesus Christ, you are loved by God, loved like Christ Himself is loved.
c.       Yahweh’s Love is Revealed in His Great Grace and Election
                                                              i.      Yahweh chose to love Jacob, before they were born, before either had done anything good or evil.
                                                            ii.      Moreover, Israel received God’s grace and commitment, but Esau did not, instead only receiving His anger and judgment. Israel at the time the book was written was experience God’s grace, they had been brought back into the land, and the Temple had been rebuilt—God kept His promise, showing that they were loved, but they could not see it
                                                          iii.      We as Christians have also experienced God’s grace and mercy and election, and just as then it was all His doing, not because we deserved it.      
d.      Yahweh’s Love is Revealed in His Justice and Judgment
                                                              i.      Yahweh’s judgement did not prove the edomites were loved by God, but that the Jews were loved.
                                                            ii.      Sometimes we can’t see how much God loves us, because we are not really seeing the alternative ways that God could treat us. However, it is not merely the punishment God gave Esau that shows He was hated, because the Jews faced the same punishment, but rather it was the fact that the punishment was final, that there was no hope and not future for them. The Jews could always repent and come back to God and receive His mercy and grace, but the Edomites faced a permanent curse.
                                                          iii.      That you can always come to God and get mercy and grace is a wonderful expression of how much God truly loves you and us as church, we can always confess our sins and repent and enjoy God’s great grace afresh.
                                                          iv.      However, Yahweh’s love is also revealed and more revealed by the fact that He kept His promises to judge and curse Israel’s enemies. Yahweh showed He loved the Jews by giving them justice. One of the ways Yahweh wants to show you that He loves you is by giving you the justice you long for. He wants to avenge the wrongs done to you
                                                            v.      In a way, His love is revealed in how He uses His power and sovereignty in our favor
e.       Yahweh’s Love for us should cause us to glorify Him for Who He is
                                                              i.      The proper response to God’s love for us is not only emotional comfort and joy, but praise and worship to God
                                                            ii.      When we see God act on our behalf, and we have seen that in the biggest way possible on the Cross, we should respond by loving Him back for Who He is, by worshipping Him and recognizing that He is Awesome, that He is Sovereign everywhere.

                                                          iii.      We sometimes forget that He is in control of all things all the time everywhere, but when we see Him at work, we should remember that He truly is in control of all things

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