(Malachi 2) What God Hates and What God Loves

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Introduction

In the first chapter of Malachi we were reminded that God expects our best. God is to be honoured and respected in our lives. We must not give to God anything less than our best.

Today we look at what God hates and also what God loves.

What Does God Hate?

1 God Hates Hypocrisy

Isn't it always the excuse people give us when we speak to them about the Bible or about the Lord? "What about all the hypocrites?" they say. One person's answer to people who say this to him is "Why not join them, there's always room for one more!"

God hates hypocrisy, too. Malachi chapter 2 starts out addressing statements to the priests - the religious rulers of the people. The priests were to be the "messenger of the Lord of hosts." (verse 7) But something had gone very wrong! Verse 8 says "You have departed from the way. You have caused many to stumble at the law. You have corrupted the covenant of Levi." ("Covenant" is an agreement between God and the priests.)

God had separated the Levites as the tribe from which the priests would come. They were to be God's representatives before the people - His priests. They were to teach the people about God, receive the sacrifices and set an example for them. They were to tell others about God.

Instead, they had departed from the way and caused the people to stumble. They had corrupted this covenant with God.

Sometimes we can read these things, and think how terrible it was for the priests to do this. But, we need to remember that ALL of us who love the Lord Jesus are the "priesthood of believers."

"The priesthood of all believers consists in the calling of the faithful to witness to God and his will before the world and to offer up their lives in the service of the world. It is God who creates this priesthood and hence creates fellowship among believers... The priesthood of all believers is the fellowship in which each Christian, instead of living to himself, lives before God for others and is in turn supported by others. "Bear one another's burden and so fulfill the law of Christ." Gal. 6:2 ("God, Man & Salvation," p. 610)

All of us who love the Lord are to be God's "priests." If we say we love the Lord, what we say and do and think must be what God is pleased with. Otherwise, we are hypocrites.

2 God Hates Unfairness (verse 9)

Have you ever been unfairly treated? Most of us have. Malachi was saying here that God's priests had been guilty of unfairness. They had shown "partiality" in the law.

3 God Hates Divorce (verse 16)

God had clearly instructed that those who follow God were not to marry people from countries who did not follow God. God is not opposed to inter-racial marriage - He is opposed to marriage with non-believers.

God's people mentioned here in Malachi had actually divorced their wives who believed in God and married younger pagan women who did not follow God. They had not only broken the covenant with God but also the covenant made with their wives. Malachi reminds them that God's plan is for one man and one woman for life. God did not create several wives for Adam, but one (Eve). Jesus refers to this in Matthew 19:4-5. "He who made them at the beginning made them male and female ... and the two shall become one flesh."

Now, here the priests and people were marrying foreign wives and casting off the wife of their youth.

God hates divorce. The interpretation of the Jewish rabbi Hallel was that the husbands were allowed to divorce their wives by saying "I hate you" "I hate you" "I hate you." (three times) in the presence of witnesses and they were considered divorced. God clearly says "I hate this!" In other words, "I hate divorce."

We live in a time of broken homes all around us. We all have family and friends affected by divorce. It is a growing calamity in our society. This passage in Malachi tells us what God thinks of divorce. "I hate this."

Divorce means broken promises between two people. God is in the business of forgiveness and restoration. He can take broken lives and forgive them and change them. But, how much better if we follow God's plan for all of our life. If divorce and brokenness has been the pattern in your family, God can break that cycle! He can change our hearts.

4 God Hates Double-talk

God is wearied by hearing people say "everyone who does evil is good in the sight of the Lord, and He delights in them. Or, where is the God of justice?"

Yes, God loves sinners. But, He hates their sin. And sin separates us from God. Sin has to be punished. God cannot let sin go unpunished. Sometimes we hear a lot of double-talk - as if God winks at wickedness. We read or hear about someone who blasphemes God, lives an immoral life, and then we hear the fine words said about them at their funeral, how they are safe in Heaven, etc. So sad, isn't it? God will not stand for double-talk. Ezekiel 18:4 says "the soul that sins shall die." God's Word is clear.

Romans 6:1 says "Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it?" and verse 15, "Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? Certainly not! Do you not know that to whom you present yourselves slaves to obey, you are that one's slaves whom you obey, whether of sin leading to death, or of obedience leading to righteousness? Verse 17, "But God be thanked that though you were slaves of sin, yet you obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine to which you were delivered. Verse 18: "And having been set free from sin, you became slaves of righteousness. Verse 22: "And now having been set free from sin, and having become slaves of God, you have your fruit to holiness, and the end, everlasting life."

We see, then, what God hates: hypocrisy, unfairness, divorce, and double-talk.

What Does God Love?

We read in the beginning verses of Malachi what God loves as He refers to His covenant made with Levi, as he walked with God. These things that God loved about Levi are the things He expects from us.

1 Reverence (verse 5)

Malachi 2:5 says "My covenant is one of life and peace, and I gave them to him that he might fear Me; so he feared Me and was reverent before My name. God loves reverence."

2 Truth (verse 6)

"The law of truth was in his mouth." God wants us to speak truth to God and to others. One of the greatest compliments Jesus made to a person while here on earth was given to Nathanael in John 1:46, "Behold, an Israelite indeed, in whom is no guile." (or deceit)

3 Justice (verse 6)

"And injustice was not found on his lips."

There were two English magistrates cycling home together at night without lights when they were stopped by a policeman. They were duly charged and when their cases came up for hearing the next day, they agreed that each should lea e the bench in turn to have his case heard by the other. The first went into the dock, pleaded guilty and was promptly fined 2 pounds, and when they changed places the second magistrate, after pleading guilty, was shocked to receive a 3 pound fine. "That's a bit unfair," he complained, "I fined you only 2 pounds." "I know," replied his colleague, "but there's entirely too much of this sort of thing going on ... this is the second case we have tried today." ("I Like That" p. 76)

Justice! We don't hear a lot about justice being done these days, do we? But, God is a God of justice. As the words of a song go, "A God of righteousness, without injustice..." And, God expects justice from us.

4 Obedience (verse 6b)

"He walked with me in peace and equity and turned many away from iniquity." (sin).

Obedience is KEEPING IN STEP WITH JESUS. It is loving God with all your heart, soul, strength and mind and your neighbour as yourself.

We need to be obedient to the voice of God to our soul.

"Why were the saints saints? Because they were cheerful when it was difficult to be cheerful. They were patient when it was difficult to be patient and because they pushed on when others would have given up. They didn't hear the inner voice of the spirit more often than others, they just obeyed the voice we all hear more often. That was all, it was quite simple and always will be." ("I Like That" p. 111)

Conclusion

What does God hate?

  1. Hypocrisy,
  2. Unfairness
  3. Divorce
  4. Double-Talk

What does God Love?

  1. Reverence
  2. Truth
  3. Justice
  4. Obedience

Malachi 3 reminds us that God said "I am the Lord, I do not change." The things God hates and loves are the same today as they have always been.

Are you reverent to God , in your speech, in your life, putting Him first, His day first, His will first?

Are you truthful? (to God and to others?)

Are you a person of justice? Are you fair?

Are you obedient to the Lord?

As God to examine your heart and come to Him to let Him change your heart so that you can walk with Him, and have Him say of you, "Behold a person in whom is no deceit."

Note:

Unless otherwise stated, all Bible quotations are from the New King James Version.

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