Rehoboam , Solomon’s son, enters the scene and Israel is soon afterward divided. He’s the 4th king of Israel and the 1st king of Judah after the split. Rehoboam eventually rules over the tribes/ families of Judah and Benjamin . The North, also known as Samaria or Israel are separated from Judah with the remaining tribes and rule of Israel begins with King Jeroboam. Jeroboam was Solomon’s servant who rebelled against him and ran to Egypt.
Let’s backtrack... After the Israelites leave Egypt and trek through the wilderness for 40 years, God rules all Israel through Judges for many years. However, the people rebel against the Lord, they demand to have a king like other nations. God is not happy about this , He speaks and warns His people through the prophet Samuel. The people refuse to listen to God’s warnings and finally God gives them a king. His name was Saul. The Kingdom of Israel is soon taken from Saul for his disobedience and given to the next anointed king, King David. After King David dies, his son Solomon rules. Solomon dies and the kingdom splits and here we begin with the rule of King Rehoboam. ( That is the very short summary, its much more exciting and detailed than that)
At First, King Rohoboam rules over all the kingdom but Jeroboam (remember, he was the enemy of Rehoboams’s father) begins to revolt against him. I’m putting this in my own words, go to 1 Chronicles 10-13 and 1Kings 11-15 for all the details. As Rehoboam begins to rule, Jeroboam and the people stand up against the new king Rehoboam and say that his father, Solomon, was too hard on them and they need a break, long story short, Rehoboam listens to his young friends and not the wise elders and tells the people that what his father did was nothing compared to the heavy load that he will now put on them. Well, that was final straw,Jeroboam and the people of Israel say enough, what do we have to do with David, your father, anyway. ( meaning the house of David, as Rehoboam was King David’s So now Jeroboam begins to rule (revolt) in Israel and tough Rehoboam rules over Judah and Benjamin. yes, Rehoboam just lost a majority of his kingdom to the new king Jeroboam.
King Rehoboam didn’t think much of their threat to leave his rule. He sent Adoram (aka Hadoram), out to collect taxes from the rebellious tribes and they stoned and killed him. From here, the true division begins.
Things Rehoboam did – the good, the bad, and ultimately the bad……
He was 41 when He began to rule and ruled for 17 years
He was the son of Solomon, grandson of David, son of Jesse
His mother was Naamah, an Ammonitess. If you go to Genesis 19:38, you’ll see that the tribe of Ammon were descendants of Lot through the younger daughter after they fled from Sodom. Lot was a nephew of Abraham.
Maachah was his favorite wife, she was the granddaughter of Absalom, the son of David (see story of Absalom)
King Rehoboam had 18 wives and 60 concubines. 28 sons and 60 daughters
He began his rule in obedience to God when Shemaiah the man of God told him not to fight/war against his brethen. Both Israel and Judah were prepared and ready for war and they turned back from fighting. Even though he didn’t war against Jeroboam, they never liked each other. And , as Rehoboam obeys God to turn around in this first war, we see in Kings 14-15, 2x ” there was war between Rehoboam and Jeroboam all the days of his life.”
King Rehoboam built fortified cities in Judah and Benjamin: he built Bethlehem, Etam, Tekoa, Beth Zur, Sochoh, Adullam, Gath, Mareshah, Ziph, Adoraim, Lachish, Azekah, Zorah, Aijalon, and Hebron,
He did not reject the Levites as King Jeroboam of Israel had done. King Jeroboam selected his own priests and served idols among other wickedness, but Rehoboam brought and welcomed them into the Land.
He began to fall away from the Lord after he had made all his defense cities – seems like he was good for 3 years, scripture says ” when Rehoboam had established the kingdom and had strengthened himself, that he forsook the law of the Lord, and all Israel along with him” Oh boy, everyone is in sin now. Look how easily we can fall away from God.
Egypt comes against King Rehoboam and all Judah in his 5th year. Egypt overtakes Judah and captures their fortified cities. I can only imagine that this is a result of Him forsaking the Lord
Shemaiah the prophet tells King Rehoboam and the leaders “‘You have forsaken Me, and therefore I also have left you in the hand of Shishak.(Egypt)’ and the leaders and King Rehoboam listen! They respond with humble hearts and respond “The Lord is righteous”. Seems like Rehoboam has redeemed himself a little bit. Notice the importance of a HUMBLE heart, it’s about to save them from complete destruction.
Once God sees how the leaders and King Rehoboam respond by humbling themselves before God, God says that he will not destroy them ,but grant them some deliverance ” My wrath shall not be poured out on Jerusalem by the hand of Shishak. Nevertheless they will be his servants, that they may distinguish My service from the service of the kingdoms of the nations.”
Now Rehoboam is under Egypts rule as their servants and much of their cities and items from the temple and the kings house have been taken by Egypt.
IMPORTANCE OF A HUMBLE HEART: “When he humbled himself, the wrath of the Lord turned from him, so as not to destroy him completely; and things also went well in Judah”
King Rohoboams life ends and the description of his life in 2 Chronicles is as follows : And he did evil, because he did not prepare his heart to seek the Lord. Then Abijah his son reigns in his place after Rehoboam’s death.
Rehoboam is mentioned in Matthew 1:17 in the Genealogy of Jesus.
1 Kings description of Rehoboams rule : “Now Judah did evil in the sight of the Lord, and they provoked Him to jealousy with their sins which they committed, more than all that their fathers had done. For they also built for themselves high places, sacred pillars, and wooden images on every high hill and under every green tree. And there were also perverted persons in the land. They did according to all the abominations of the nations which the Lord had cast out before the children of Israel.
Rehoboam was partially good, sometimes. The description of his life’s rule was that of evil because he did not prepare his heart to seek the Lord. His other downfalls, pride, forsaking or ignoring the Lord, listening to the wrong advisors and allowing himself and the people to fall deep into sin.
His humble heart saved them from destruction even though they did end up serving Egypt, He knew and feared God at times, but it wasn’t enough. A humble and repentant heart is so important to the Lord. There are many examples of this throughout scripture. This is the heart the Lord is searching for today. Humble your heart before Him, Our almighty God and precious Savior, Jesus Christ.
Have you found yourself drifting in your spiritual life?
“For they have perverted their way; They have forgotten the LORD their God. “Return, you backsliding children, And I will heal your backslidings. Indeed we do come to You, For You are the LORD our God. Surely the idolatrous commotion on the hills and mountains is a deception; surely in the LORD our God is the salvation of Israel” Jeremiah 3:22-23
Some of the most godly kings were guilty of backsliding- Joash, Hezekiah and Solomon to name a few. They walked with the Lord, saw visions, prophesied ,they had prophets to warn them, they saw awesome and wonderful miracles and power of God. Yet, as time went by they began to fall away from the Lord. Pride, Wealth, Fame, were some of the things that tripped them in their walk with the Lord. The Lord warned them and shook up their world to try to get their attention. Some listened and some did not.
We have to make sure the desires for this world, our busyness, forgetting God’s promises, forgetting what God has done for us, and unbelief do not enter into our minds, our lives, or our hearts.
Backsliding is a gradual process, we barely notice it. Backsliding is like drifting along the shore of an ocean- without knowing you are moving. At first you see where you are stationed on the shore with your family, chairs, umbrella. After a while of playing in the surf, you look up and suddenly your stuff is no where to be found. You have drifted so far- and you didn’t even notice you had moved. The same it is with backsliding. It’s quiet and you don’t notice it unless you stand grounded always checking yourself, making sure you are anchored and have your eyes fixed on your place. It’s easy to drift. We can get so caught up in our world, we get tired, and maybe even lazy. We are all in danger of neglecting our relationship with Him. Work hard, be alert, make the effort and seek the Lord with all your might and with all your heart
Charles Stanley on avoiding the disaster of drifting said, “Maybe you’re caught up in the wrong crowd and haven’t attended worship services in a long time. The most disturbing part of it is that you just don’t feel God’s presence anymore. Something is happening to your spiritual life- and it isn’t good. You’re drifting, which means you’re headed for trouble” I went through the bible and found some things that we need to be careful of so we don’t end up backsliding and falling away from the Lord: that you do not become sluggish, but imitate those who through faith and patience inherit the promises.
1. Pride and a haughty spirit -Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall. Proverbs 16:18
2. Spiritual blindness You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked. I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich; and white clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness; and salve to put on your eyes, so you can see.
3. Spiritual Blindness and forgetting you have been cleansed: Make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But whoever does not have them is nearsighted and blind, forgetting that they have been cleansed from their past sins. For if you do these things, you will never stumble, and you will receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Rev 3:17-18, 2 Peter 1:5-11
4. Murmuring: But the people were thirsty for water there, and they grumbled against Moses. They said, “Why did you bring us up out of Egypt to make us and our children and livestock die of thirst?” Ex 17:3
5. Not Remembering all God has done for you/ not waiting for Him: But they soon forgot what he had done and did not wait for his plan to unfold.
6. Lusting after evil/ Not Content: In the desert they gave in to their craving; in the wilderness they put God to the test. So he gave them what they asked for, but sent a wasting disease among them.
7. Envy: In the camp they grew envious of Moses and of Aaron, who was consecrated to the LORD. The earth opened up and swallowed Dathan; it buried the company of Abiram. Fire blazed among their followers; a flame consumed the wicked. At Horeb they made a calf and worshiped an idol cast from metal.
8. Idolatry: They exchanged their glorious God for an image of a bull, which eats grass.
9. Forgetting They forgot the God who saved them, who had done great things in Egypt ,miracles in the land of Ham and awesome deeds by the Red Sea. So he said he would destroy them -had not Moses, his chosen one, stood in the breach before him to keep his wrath from destroying them. Then they despised the pleasant land; 10. Not believing: they did not believe his promise.
11. Complaining : They grumbled in their tents and did not obey the LORD. So he swore to them with uplifted hand that he would make them fall in the wilderness, make their descendants fall among the nations and scatter them throughout the lands.
12. Not Putting God first: They yoked themselves to the Baal of Peor and ate sacrifices offered to lifeless gods; they aroused the Lord’s anger by their wicked deeds, and a plague broke out among them. But Phinehas stood up and intervened, and the plague was checked. This was credited to him as righteousness for endless generations to come. By the waters of Meribah they angered the LORD, and trouble came to Moses because of them;
13. Rebellion: for they rebelled against the Spirit of God, and rash words came from Moses’ lips.
14. hanging around unbelievers :They did not destroy the peoples as the LORD had commanded them, but they mingled with the nations and adopted their customs. They worshiped their idols, which became a snare to them. They sacrificed their sons and their daughters to false gods. They shed innocent blood, the blood of their sons and daughters, whom they sacrificed to the idols of Canaan, and the land was desecrated by their blood.
15. Doing evil :They defiled themselves by what they did; by their deeds they prostituted themselves. Therefore the LORD was angry with his people and abhorred his inheritance. He gave them into the hands of the nations, and their foes ruled over them. Many times he delivered them, but they were bent on rebellion and they wasted away in their sin. Yet he took note of their distress when he heard their cry; for their sake he remembered his covenant and out of his great love he relented. He caused all who held them captive to show them mercy. Save us, LORD our God and gather us from the nations, that we may give thanks to your holy name and glory in your praise. Psalm 106: 13—47 (#4-#11)
16. Envy, wanting worldly things: Some people are like seed along the path, where the word is sown. As soon as they hear it, Satan comes and takes away the word that was sown in them.
17. Giving up when troubles arise: Others, like seed sown on rocky places, hear the word and at once receive it with joy. But since they have no root, they last only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, they quickly fall away.
18. Not believing in God’s promises Still others, like seed sown among thorns, hear the word; 19 but the worries of this life, come in and choke the word, making it unfruitful
19. Craving Worldly desires: the deceitfulness of wealth and the desires for other things come in and choke the word, making it unfruitful. Others, like seed sown on good soil, hear the word, accept it, and produce a crop—some thirty, some sixty, some a hundred times what was sown.” Mark 4:15-20 (#12-15)
20. The Love of Money: Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs. 1 Tim 6:9-10
21. Forgetting God : Beware that in your plenty you do not forget the LORD your God and disobey his commands, regulations, and decrees that I am giving you today. For when you have become full and prosperous and have built fine homes to live in, and when your flocks and herds have become very large and your silver and gold have multiplied along with everything else, be careful! Do not become proud at that time and forget the LORD your God, who rescued you from slavery in the land of Egypt. He did all this so you would never say to yourself, ‘I have achieved this wealth with my own strength and energy.’ Remember the LORD your God. He is the one who gives you power to be successful, in order to fulfill the covenant he confirmed to your ancestors with an oath. Duet. 8:11-18: Jer 3:2-25 by the roadside you sat waiting for lovers, sat like a nomad in the desert. You have defiled the land with your prostitution and wickedness. Therefore the showers have been withheld, and no spring rains there. I thought that after she had done all this she would return to me but she did not, and her unfaithful sister Judah saw it. 8 I gave faithless Israel her certificate of divorce and sent her away because of all her adulteries. Yet I saw that her unfaithful sister Judah had no fear; she also went out and committed adultery. Because Israel’s immorality mattered so little to her, she defiled the land and committed adultery with stone and wood. In spite of all this, her unfaithful sister Judah did not return to me with all her heart, but only in pretense(make believe or pretend),” declares the LORD. “Return, faithless people,” declares the LORD, I will cure you of backsliding Jer 48:7-8 Since you trust in your deeds and riches, you too will be taken captive, ! 29-30 “We have heard of Moab’s pride— how great is her arrogance!— of her insolence, her pride, her conceit and the haughtiness of her heart. I know her insolence but it is futile, ”declares the LORD, “and her boasts accomplish nothing.
Jer 4:19 Your wickedness will punish you; your backsliding will rebuke you. Consider then and realize how evil and bitter it is for you when you forsake the LORD your God and have no awe of me,” declares the Lord, the LORD Almighty
Jer 5:7-9 “Why should I forgive you? your children have forsaken me and sworn by gods that are not gods. I supplied all their needs, yet they committed adultery and thronged to the houses of prostitutes. They are well-fed, lusty stallions, each neighing for another man’s wife. Should I not punish them for this?”declares the LORD. “Should I not avenge myself on such a nation as this?
Jer 8 :4-12 “Say to them, ‘This is what the LORD says: “‘When people fall down, do they not get up?When someone turns away, do they not return? Why then have these people turned away?Why does Jerusalem always turn away? They cling to deceit; they refuse to return. I have listened attentively,but they do not say what is right. None of them repent of their wickedness, saying, “What have I done?”Each pursues their own course like a horse charging into battle. Even the stork in the sky knows her appointed seasons, and the dove, the swift and the thrush observe the time of their migration. But my people do not know the requirements of the LORD‘How can you say, “We are wise, for we have the law of the LORD,”when actually the lying pen of the scribes has handled it falsely? The wise will be put to shame; they will be dismayed and trapped. Since they have rejected the word of the LORD, what kind of wisdom do they have? Therefore I will give their wives to other men and their fields to new owners.From the least to the greatest, all are greedy for gain; prophets and priests alike, all practice deceit. They dress the wound of my people as though it were not serious. Peace, peace,” they say, when there is no peace. 12 Are they ashamed of their detestable conduct? No, they have no shame at all; they do not even know how to blush.So they will fall among the fallen; they will be brought down when they are punished, says the LORD.
Jer 14:10 This is what the LORD says about this people: “They greatly love to wander; they do not restrain their feet. So the LORD does not accept them; he will now remember their wickedness and punish them for their sins.”
Hosea 11:7 My people are determined to turn from me. Even though they call me God Most High, I will by no means exalt them.
Hosea 14:9 Who is wise? Let them realize these things. Who is discerning? Let them understand. The ways of the LORD are right;the righteous walk in them, but the rebellious stumble in them.
Prov 14:14-16 The faithless will be fully repaid for their ways, and the good rewarded for theirs. The simple believe anything but the prudent give thought to their steps.The wise fear the LORD and shun evil, but a fool is hotheaded and yet feels secure Remember Him- come back to him in your thoughts.
Job 20:21 Now acquaint yourself with Him, and be at peace; Thereby good will come to you. Seek repentance before Him with a humble heart and if you have offended anyone, go and confess your offense and make peace
“Return, ye backsliding children” Turn to Him: Come back! There is Mercy and Grace for you from the Father ready to be poured out into your life. He waits all day with open arms calling your name. Yes, come as you are- even in our wayward ways. He calls out “come back my backsliding children” he doesn’t say, come back all who are right with me – don’t think you have to better yourself first before you come back to Him. Today is the day of salvation. Don’t wait any longer. Go to the Lord and He will make your ways straight.
“But all who believe, must believe in Jesus, and repent of their sins”
Charles Spurgeon, in 1886 said it best: “Come empty, ragged, filthy, just as you are, and believe in God that justifieth the ungodly. Cast yourself on Him who came to call, not the righteous, but sinners to repentance”
Put God first; Trust in Him alone. Get rid of all the idols in our lives. What do I put before the Lord?
1. Remember Him– come back to him in your thoughts. Job 20:21 Now acquaint yourself with Him, and be at peace; Thereby good will come to you. Seek repentance before Him with a humble heart and if you have offended anyone, go and confess your offense and make peace “Return, ye backsliding children”
2. Turn to Him: Come back! There is Mercy and Grace for you from the Father ready to be poured out into your life. He waits all day with open arms calling your name. Yes, come as you are- even in our wayward ways. He calls out “come back my backsliding children” he doesn’t say, come back all who are right with me – don’t think you have to better yourself first before you come back to Him. Today is the day of salvation. Don’t wait any longer. Go to the Lord and He will make your ways straight. “But all who believe, must believe in Jeus, and repent of their sins”
3. Put God first; Trust in Him alone. Get rid of all the idols in our lives. What do I put before the Lord?
4. Get rid of all unrighteousness : Stop judging others and begin to clean your heart out daily of any hidden sins. Remember there is no salvation in ourselves, but in the blood of the Lamb of God- our Savior Jesus Christ. To think ourselves so righteous is a lie. It’s all about Jesus, not us. His Kingdom only. When we were yet without strength Christ died for us. It is not our own strength or righteousness that we are saved.
5. Job 20:21 Now acquaint yourself with Him, and be at peace; Thereby good will come to you. Seek repentance before Him with a humble heart and if you have offended anyone, go and confess your offense and make peace “Return, ye backsliding children”Today is the day of salvation. Go to the Lord and He will make your ways straight. “But all who believe, must believe in Jesus, and repent of their sins” 6. Live for Christ: die to ourselves and our desires and let Christ reign in your heart. There is no greater joy than this. From a fleshly and wordly standpoint, this doesn’t sound like something we’d want to do. When we finally do decide to live for Christ only we will find the joy, the peace and the amazing walk with God our soul desires. There you will be content and there you will find your joy. Searching for this in wordly things will never bring you to the place where you are searching. It is only found in Christ. Living for Him, If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me 8:34-35
For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me and for the gospel will save it Luke 9:23
Then he said to them all: “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it Gal 5: 24-
If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.. Put no idols before him : We cannot serve two Gods!No one can serve two masters. For you will hate one and love the other; you will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and man.
I’m still in Malachi! I’m fascinated by the conversations between God and the people . They continue to question God! They were following all their customs/ traditions, they were the temple praying and making their offerings but they were far from God and did not realize it. God called them out on numerous wrongdoings and instead of repenting or checking their ways, they retorted with questioning God on His words and accusations against them.
How can we return to you if we’ve never gone away?
What do you mean? What have we said against you?
What’s the use of serving God?
Malachi and our places of Worship today
When I read this I think of our churches. We sit so comfortably in our pews, make lunch plans with our church friends, sit in a bible study, send in a donation, maybe volunteer here or there but does that make us right with God? If we aren’t obeying Him and living for Him, we deceive ourselves to think we are close to Him. In the many churches I’ve been in, I have seen and met some of the nastiest, self righteous , mean people. I was in one study where they made it obvious they didn’t want me or my group to join them. They were so rude , if anyone in my group spoke they would ignore them and talk over them, if hadn’t been a long standing Christ follower, I would have given up on Christianity right there . Of course, I’ve also met wonderful Christ following believers, but some are not. Malachi reminds me our churches today- God asks – Are you really doing this to honor me or honor you? You are wearing Me down with your sins . Are you loving others as I have loved you? Return to Me and I’ll return to you- and I can just see many saying – “What are you talking about God? How can we return when we never left you.”
MY HOUSE IS NOT YOUR CLUB.
I want to share something that happened to me years ago- about 16 years ago. I was in a moms group, wonderful group of church going friends and I still meet up with them years later (in fact next week!) We went to church and bible study together as well as meet ups for our kids. I had recently met a new friend who wasn’t like the friends in my group. She was divorced, like to go out to clubs at night, had 2-3 kids and I enjoyed my time with her. We would meet for lunch or a class at the gym and I soon invited her to my church. There was a large woman’s conference upcoming at the church and I invited her to go with me, she was excited about going and I told her I would call to confirm time on that day. I told my church friend group that I had invited my new friend and one of the moms wasn’t happy. She didn’t like her, she told me I should not have invited her and that she didn’t belong . She finally said, if you come to the conference with her, you are not sitting with us and neither of you will sit at our table and eat with us. I was a little taken back to hear this. I hadn’t encountered something like this before. The day of the conference rolled around and my day had been long and torturous, I was not in the mood for any drama or attitude at church that night and as I drove I began to wonder about my options…… should I bring her and deal with the possibility of a nasty welcome with my friends? Should I ignore them and go with her? Ugh, I just dont’ want to deal with this. Maybe, I thought, I should tell her I’m not going and that will end everything. As I sat and pondered excuses in my head, I heard loud and clear within my heart “ MY HOUSE IS NOT YOUR CLUB” Wow! That scared me! I was just thinking to myself how I could get out of this as I was driving and suddenly words that were not my own were heard loud and clear. It felt like it shook me. I quickly and fearfully called my new friend and invited her that night, the words I heard so loudly in my heart over took any other thoughts I had. When I called she was so excited, she said she had just finished telling all her neighbors about the conference she was going to with me. Anyways, she went and she sat with my group, and they asked me why I brought her. I told them the Lord told me His house is not my club, the words silenced us all. One of my friends responded “Well that would have done it for me too.” A great lesson for all of us – His house is not our clubhouse. We ended up sitting next to the ex in laws of my new friend and they all got up and hugged her, it was a wonderful evening.
Another recent situation happened in a church, the words spoken were so unwelcoming but I don’t know if the person knew how she was coming across. I think we each need to be careful of our words and our attitude with others especially in God’s house. We don’t pick and chose who comes to God. Consider some of the biblical heroes : the prostitute Rahab, Moabite Ruth (Moabites were israels enemies) Paul who was killing Christ followers, Peter – who denied Jesus 3x, God even spared Cain after he killed his brother, God spared Jacobs sons despite the sins of murder and other things they had done. Esther, an orphaned girl, and Jesus :
For He shall grow up before Him as a tender plant, And as a root out of dry ground. He has no form or comeliness; And when we see Him, There is no [beauty that we should desire Him.
He is despised and [d]rejected by men, A Man of ]sorrows and acquainted with [f]grief. And we hid, as it were, our faces from Him; He was despised, and we did not esteem Him. Is 52
Moses was the most humble man on earth, God is searching for a heart like this. In fact, if you study those who are chosen, are chosen because of their heart. Read more on having a humble heart.
Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me, and know my anxieties; And see if there is any wicked way in me, And lead me in the way everlasting. ps 139
I usually write longer posts and I have more to share in Malachi 3-4 but I want to stop here and hope the words of God sink into your heart. Check your walk with Him, repent of your sins. Ask God to search your heart and see if there is any way in us that is not pleasing to Him.
Am I helping to make my church a House of Prayer to the Lord?
Have I backslidden from God’s ways?
How is my prayer life?
Who do I need to forgive?
What sin in my life do I need to get rid of?
Read through Malachi,
and consider our world today, our own selves and the state of our/your churches and leaders as you consider the words of this book.
Malachi is the last book in the old testament, it is an amazing book filled with wisdom, warnings, promises an prophecy. At the time Malachi was written, Israel and Judah were destroyed/ taken captive and some were returning to the land and others had already settled in (See Ezra, Nehemiah). They started their journey out of Egypt, knowing and fearing the Lord, but over the (hundreds of ) years they turned away from God, God continued to call them back and warn them, but soon the land was so full of sin it could no longer continue. God calls out the people and priests for their wrong doing. Instead of repenting or considering their ways, they question God.
Rebellious questions they ask in response to God’s word:
Really? How have you loved us?
How have we ever shown contempt for your name? When have we despised your name?
How have we defiled the sacrifices?
Why doesn’t the Lord accept my worship? Why doesn’t the Lord accept my offering?
How have we wearied the Lord (with our words)? 2:17
How can we return when we’ve never gone away? 3:7
What do you mean? When have we ever cheated you? 3:8
What do you mean? When have we said terrible things about you?
The Lord said, I have heard you say : What’s the use of serving God? What have we gained by obeying His commands or by trying to show the Lord of Heaven’s armies that we are sorry for our sins?
God is a God of love, mercy and forgiveness with MUCH patience, but He’s also a God of wrath when it comes to sin, wickedness and evil. He curses the priests, cursed their blessings, curses their descendants for the evil they have done. Evil can’t stand before Him, He will patiently wait for us, He warns us, but when we continually disobey, continually turn away, continually cheat Him, continually blasphemy His name – There comes a time when … it’s enough. The scripture says that the sin reaches the heavens (Revelation 18:5) , the sin is about to overflow and that’s when God says, enough! The cries of those treated wrongly reach the heavens – see Sodom and Gomorrah, also the blood spilled out reaches his ears – see Cain and Abel. Here in Malachi, we read that He won’t listen to the prayers of some people even though they groan and weep before the altar. We may make our own rules, our own ways, our own god, doing what we think is right in our own eyes , but that is an imaginary and false reality, not pleasing to God.
As Malachi continues, God has questions for the people:
Isn’t it wrong to give blind animals as a sacrifice? Isn’t it wrong to offer animals that are crippled and diseased?
Why should I show you any favor at all?
Should I accept such offerings as these?
Are we not all children of the same Father? Are we not all created by the same God? Then why do we betray each other, violating the covenant of our ancestors?
Didn’t the Lord make you one with your wife?
What does He want? (What does God want from your marriage?)
Should people cheat God?
“Go ahead, ask God to be merciful to you but when you bring that kind of offering, shy should He show you any favor at all?” 1:9 – wow, is that the God we hear about in our churches? In other words, you don’t respect me, why should I respect you? I’m not sure this is matching my king james version… it says something like this, go ahead, face down begging the Lord for his mercy and grace, by your own means, but will he accept and regard you? (I am the Lord and I do not change- keep that verse in mind)
In chapter 1 v10, God tells the people ” I am not pleased with you” He says He’d rather the temple doors were shut to stop all the worthless acts and offerings.
Message to the Priests
Honor God’s name
Reverence the Lord
Teach people the truth of God’s instructions
Do not lie or cheat
Walk with the Lord
Live good and righteous lives
Turn others from a life of sin
Their lips should preserve the knowledge of God
They are messengers of the Lord.
Even though this message was written to the Levites and the people of Judah over 2000 years ago, God wants the same from our leaders today – our pastors, priests, elders, teacher. Those who lead and teach have a greater responsibility put on them.
If a man desires the position of a ]bishop, he desires a good work. A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, temperate, sober-minded, of good behavior, hospitable, able to teach; not given to wine, not violent, not greedy for money, but gentle, not quarrelsome, not ]covetous; one who rules his own house well, having his children in submission with all reverence (for if a man does not know how to rule his own house, how will he take care of the church of God?);not a novice, lest being puffed up with pride he fall into the same condemnation as the devil. Moreover he must have a good testimony among those who are outside, lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil. Likewise deacons must be reverent, not double-tongued, not given to much wine, not greedy for money, holding the [mystery of the faith with a pure conscience. But let these also first be tested; then let them serve as deacons, being found blameless. Likewise, their wives must be reverent, not slanderers, temperate, faithful in all things. Let deacons be the husbands of one wife, ruling their children and their own houses well. For those who have served well as deacons obtain for themselves a good standing and great boldness in the faith which is in Christ Jesus.(1Timothy 3)
Are we turning others from sin? See Ezekiel 3:17-21. Do our lives reflect the righteousness, mercy and love of Christ ? Do we honor some people above others or do we show favoritism to some people over God? Is the truth of God’s word taught today? Have we mixed our churches and traditions with the world’s ways?
My brethren, let not many of you become teachers, knowing that we shall receive a stricter judgment.For we all stumble in many things. If anyone does not stumble in word, he is a
perfect man, able also to bridle the whole body. 3 Indeed, we put bits in horses’ mouths that they may obey us, and we turn their whole body. Look also at ships:
although they are so large and are driven by fierce winds, they are turned by a very small rudder wherever the pilot desires. Even so the tongue is a little member and boasts great things.
And what are we to teach others? We are to teach all that He has commanded, bring sinners back from wandering, correction, righteousness. (click links for more information)
If the Priests chose not to obey:
a curse would come upon them
a curse would come upon their blessing – in fact , the Lord says, they are cursed already, because they did not take God’s words to heart.
a curse would come upon their descendants
their seed would be corrupted
dung of their feasts would be spread on their faces
you will be contemptible and a base before all people (despised and humiliated before the people)
God tells the priests: Listen and make up your mind to honor God’s name , if you don’t you will be cursed. But you’ve already left God’s ways, and caused many to stumble, you’ve corrupted the Law and the covenant. you’ve been partial to the law, shown favoritism
What was the purpose of this covenant ? God wanted to give them life and peace through the covenant He had with them.
What were the Priests of Malachi’s day doing? They had left God’s paths, caused others to stumble into sin, corrupted the covenant God made with Levites, did not obey God, showed favoritism among people and not towards God
The sins of Judah
They were having adulterous affairs – so God did not listen to them as they wept at the altar. They broke the vows they made to their wife, the men were unfaithful when their wives were faithful to them. (NT 1 Peter 3:7 – that your prayers not be hindered ) In the marriage vows, God made you one with your wife, Gods wants Godly children from your union, so guard your heart, remain loyal to the wife of your youth, to divorce your wife is to overwhelm her with cruelty, so guard your heart. God hates divorce.
They had wearied the Lord with their words – How have we wearied you? God replied : You say that all who do evil are good in the Lord’s sight and this pleases God.
Men intermarried women who worshiped idols. God said this is a detestable thing. These men were to be cut off from Israel.
Each person deals treacherously with others and their brethren
They profaned the holiness of the Lord
The Temple Message “ ALL WHO DO EVIL ARE GOOD IN THE LORD’S SIGHT AND HE IS PLEASED WITH THEM” – This was the message being taught in those days that angered and wearied the Lord. Do you think this same message is taught today? When have we been taught that our lives, our ways, our words have wearied the Lord? I hear a lot of Grace and love covers everything, but if God doesn’t change, then we need to STOP and consider our ways (Jeremiah 6:16) . We do not get a free pass to sin because Jesus was punished beaten, mocked and nailed to a cross for us. There’s a fine line here to debate and more of my view on this is on my post Once saved always saved?
My disclaimer – I read and study God’s word, but you must test all things, even those that I write and what you hear from others. For instance, I am not convinced, according to scripture that once you say the sinner’s prayer you are saved forever,maybe you are, but as you can read in my post about salvation, I have scripture that may make you think twice. you can also see in my post about grace, that even though I had all the scripture to back up my point, it seemed I wasn’t fully correct. Another topic is tribulation, I am not completely sold on the pretrib idea. I have done many studies on it, and the scripture is quite convincing, but when I open up the bible and study, I read scripture that makes think it could be mid or post or then again pre! So today you must prayerfully consider all you hear and read. Be a berean and test all things and always keep studying God’s word! Why? Read Why should I read the bible? I try to my best to stay fully focused on scripture and I am careful not to write or a say anything that would lead any astray, my goal is to 1- bring knowledge of scriptures to others, 2- make others see and experience the joy and excitement of studying God’s Word, 3- To bring back the drifter who has wandered and 4- to keep God’s children on the straight and narrow path
My takeaway and topics in Malachi 1 & 2 :
God’s rules for marriage and the separation from God due to adultery and sin
God’s curses on those who disobey Him, priests and people
Don’t let our actions, traditions, words dishonor Him
God wants to give us peace and life, but we have to obey Him and honor His name
Purpose of Levite covenant was to bring peace and life
Purpose of marriage as a godly union to produce godly children
God doesn’t listen to everyone’s prayers
All who do evil are still good in the Lord’ sight is a lie and a false teaching
Colossions 3:5-17 : Destroy the desires to sin that are in you. These desires are: sex sins, anything that is not clean, a desire for sex sins, and wanting something someone else has. This is worshiping a god. It is because of these sins that the anger of God comes down on those who do not obey Him. You used to do these sins when you lived that kind of life. Put out of your life these things also: anger, bad temper, bad feelings toward others, talk that hurts people, speaking against God, and dirty talk. Do not lie to each other. You have put out of your life your old ways. You have now become a new person and are always learning more about Christ. You are being made more like Christ. He is the One Who made you. There is no difference in men in this new life. Greeks and Jews are the same. The man who has gone through the religious act of becoming a Jew and the one who has not are the same. There is no difference between nations. Men who are servants and those who are free are the same. Christ is everything. He is in all of us.God has chosen you. You are holy and loved by Him. Because of this, your new life should be full of loving-pity. You should be kind to others and have no pride. Be gentle and be willing to wait for others.Try to understand other people. Forgive each other. If you have something against someone, forgive him. That is the way the Lord forgave you. 14 And to all these things, you must add love. Love holds everything and everybody together and makes all these good things perfect. 15 Let the peace of Christ have power over your hearts. You were chosen as a part of His body. Always be thankful.Let the teaching of Christ and His words keep on living in you. These make your lives rich and full of wisdom. Keep on teaching and helping each other. Sing the Songs of David and the church songs and the songs of heaven with hearts full of thanks to God. Whatever you say or do, do it in the name of the Lord Jesus. Give thanks to God the Father through the Lord Jesus.
1 thes 5:6-11Watch and keep your minds awake to what is happening. 7 People sleep at night. Those who get drunk do it at night. 8 Because we are men of the day, let us keep our minds awake. Let us cover our chests with faith and love. Let us cover our heads with the hope of being saved. 9 God planned to save us from the punishment of sin through our Lord Jesus Christ. He did not plan for us to suffer from His anger. 10 He died for us so that, dead or alive, we will be with Him. 11 So comfort each other and make each other strong as you are already doing.
Romans 5:20Moreover the law entered that the offense might abound. But where sin abounded, grace abounded much more, so that as sin reigned in death, even so grace might reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Romans 1:18For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them.
Rev 21:8 But those who are afraid and those who do not have faith and the sinful-minded people and those who kill other people and those who do sex sins and those who follow witchcraft and those who worship false gods and all those who tell lies will be put into the lake of fire and sulphur.
Proverbs 29:16 When the sinful are many, sins become many, but those who are right with God will see their fall.
Joel 3:13Come and crush the grapes, for the crushing-place is full. They flow over, for their sins are many. Thousands and thousands are in the valley of God’s punishment. For the day of the Lord is near in the valley of God’s punishment.
Think about – Did you notice that a lot of things in the bible happen every 400 years (est) – Judges, Kings, captivity to the coming of Christ or even the time Egypt? Think about that and the year we live in, considering America’s original foundation in Judaeo- Christianity, and now about 400 years later……