Malachi Bible Study Lesson 1

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An oracle: The word of the LORD to Israel through Malachi.

“I have loved you,” says the LORD.

“But you ask, ‘How have you loved us?’

“Was not Esau Jacob’s brother?” the LORD says. “Yet I have loved Jacob, but Esau I have hated, and I have turned his mountains into a wasteland and left his inheritance to the desert jackals.”

Edom may say, “Though we have been crushed, we will rebuild the ruins.”

But this is what the LORD Almighty says: “They may build, but I will demolish. They will be called the Wicked Land, a people always under the wrath of the LORD. You will see it with your own eyes and say, ‘Great is the LORD -even beyond the borders of Israel!’

(Malachi 1:1–5 NIV)

I have to admit that these words have always bothered me. To say that God hated Esau when he did nothing troubled me. I was concerned about this “hate” word. However, once I began a more in depth study, I discovered that there was a translation issue. Any time you translate one language to another, you lose something important. To truly get the original meaning and intent, you need to learn the initial language. Thank goodness for the scholars who have done just that. Let’s begin.

The original meaning of the word “hate” is a bit different from this generation’s definition. It is more synonymous with “reject”. There were two men born to Isaac. Only one of them could be the means for which the Chosen one was to come through and who would be one of the leaders of Israel. I have to admit that choosing Jacob, a man with many faults, stumped me. But as time goes on, you start to see his true heart, as well as Esau’s. That is why God is God, and I’m glad I’m not. He can see the past, present, and future and understand someone in ways that we never could. He knew the future of Jacob and his descendants. He knew what would happen if Esau was to be the chosen one. He knew and chose correctly.

These verses are talking about Jacob and Esau’s descendants. Esau’s became known as the land of Edom. Jacob’s is known as Israel. Edomites had an arrogance about them that went far beyond the confidence everyone needs to stand against what life throws at you. They still harbored the hatred against Jacob’s descendants. They were determined to rebuild, come back stronger, and inflict their revenge. But there were some issues that should have been addressed. There’s the fact that the rivalry happened centuries earlier so who was the revenge really for? And do you really want to go up against God?

These words are trying to get us to realize that going against God is futile. He has a plan that we can only see as a small thread of the tapestry. We might not always understand the reasoning, but we must put our faith in God. Israel was to be blessed and become the Chosen ones. He would protect them always.

Continue the study of Malachi here.

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