Saturday, October 4, 2014

The God of Justice and Judgment (Malachi 2.17-3.5)

Scripture: Malachi 2.17-3.5
Translation: 2.17You annoy/frustrate/tire Yahweh with your words. But you say “How did we annoy you?” by saying, “Everyone who does evil is good in Yahweh’s perspective; and He delights in them” or “Where is the God of Judgment/Justice?” 3.1“Look at Me! I’m sending My messenger. And he will clear the way for My Presence. And suddenly the Lord Who you’re looking for will come to His Temple! And the messenger of the covenant, which you’re delighting in—look, he’s coming.” Yahweh of Armies says. 2And Who is enduring the day of His coming? And Who is the one standing when He shows up? Because He is like the fire of a refiner and like the soap of people who wash clothes. 3And the refiner and the purifier of silver will sit down and purify the sons of Levi and refine them like gold and silver. And they will be bringing a gift to Yahweh with righteousness. 4And the gift of Judah and Jerusalem will be pleasing to Yahweh, like days of old and ancient years. 5And I will come close to you for judgment, and I will be an eager witness against those practicing magic and against those committing adultery and against those swearing to a lie and against those exploiting the paycheck of an employee, the widow, and the orphan, and those turning strangers away. But they don’t fear Me!: Yahweh of Armies says.   

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 4: A Rejection of the God of Justice/Judgment
                                                              i.      Accusation:
                                                            ii.      Defense:
                                                          iii.      Refutation:
                                                          iv.      Response/Judgment
1.      Summary: I will send My messenger then I will come
2.      My Messenger will purify the people for Me
3.      I will judge those who do evil
2.      Themes
a.       Judgment/justice
b.      Good and evil
c.       Rejection/denial/doubt against God
d.      Messenger
e.       Coming
f.       Fearing God
g.      Refining/purification
                                                              i.      Refiner’s fire
                                                            ii.      Soap/Bleach
h.      Adultery
i.        Oppressed people: widows and orphans and strangers and employees
j.        Witness/legal terminology
3.      Doctrines
a.       God is the God of Justice and the God of Judgment
b.      God cares about the oppressed
c.       Judgment is Coming

1.      Outline
a.       Two Ways to Deny that God is the God of Justice and Judgment
                                                              i.      Way 1: Deny Justice and Judgment are Needed: say there is nothing that needs to be given justice or judgment: or other words, say everything is good and nothing is evil, or at least that all evil you ever encounter is really good
1.      In our culture this is extremely common, to give someone a negative assessment of their lifestyle or choices or actions is considered rude and in poor taste, instead every action, choice, or lifestyle must be embraced and celebrated as a good thing. unfortunately that is a way of doing exactly this kind of denial of God being the God of Judgment and Justice. Because God doesn’t approve of all our actions, choices, and lifestyles, let alone our attitudes. In our culture people proudly slaughter innocent children, celebrating it as a good thing, a right even. People say people who kill their children because they would have kept that person from getting ahead have done a good, thing, but this is a blatant instance of calling someone who has done evil good.
2.      For others, it is their sexuality or gender identity that is what they call good when in truth it is evil. For someone is it heterosexual sex with someone they are not married to, for others it is homosexual sex, for still others it is a rejection of the body that God created them to have—all these things our culture celebrates as good, even something God would support, when in fact nothing could be further from the truth
3.      And yet there are some many other things, smaller things, like lying that our culture calls good, we say, “No, don’t tell them the truth, lie so they feel better”
                                                            ii.      Way 2: Deny God Gives Justice and Judgment: say that God doesn’t give justice or judgment
1.      We deny it by being judgmental
2.      We deny it by being vengeful
3.      We deny it by being skeptical
4.      We deny it by being unhopeful
a.       This includes obsessing over human justice, because we don't trust God for ultimate justice
                                                          iii.      Result:
1.      if the oppressor, no fear of judgment,
2.      and perhaps if the victim, no hope of justice
b.      God Affirms to Us that He is, contrary to popular belief, the God of Justice and Judgment
                                                              i.      God Shows His Commitment to Justice and Judgment by Sending Someone to Prepare for It
                                                            ii.      God Shows His Commitment to Justice and Judgment by Promising to Come and Give it
c.       We should respond in four ways
                                                              i.      Worship God for being the God of Justice/Judgment
                                                            ii.      Don’t be ashamed of worshiping the God Justice and Judgment
1.      That means not denying that evil is perpetrated by people all the time
2.      That means not denying that justice/judgment is coming
                                                          iii.      Repent, if you’re doing evil, especially evil against others
                                                          iv.      Hope, if you need justice and judgment against your oppressors
1.      However, this does not necessary mean staying in a situation of abuse or oppression if you can escape, for example if any of you are being physically or sexually abused by anyone, whether it is your mother or father or brother or sister or boyfriend or girlfriend or whoever, please come to me or to the other leaders and we will help you get out of that situation
2.      Discussion Questions
a.       What are some things it is easy to think of as good, that God calls bad?
b.      Do you think of God as being a God of Justice and Judgment? Do you like that He is that kind of God
c.       Is it easy for you to believe that God will judge and give justice?

d.      How do you seek to imitate God in caring about people and justice? 

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