Daily Word

Malachi – God loves Israel | Malachi 1:1-5

1 “The pronouncement of the word of the Lord to Israel through Malachi: 2 “I have loved you,” says the Lord. But you say, “How have You loved us?” “Was Esau not Jacob’s brother?” declares the Lord. “Yet I have loved Jacob; 3 but I have hated Esau, and I have made his mountains a desolation and given his inheritance to the jackals of the wilderness.”

4 Though Edom says, “We have been beaten down, but we will return and build up the ruins”; this is what the Lord of armies says: “They may build, but I will tear down; and people will call them the territory of wickedness, and the people with whom the Lord is indignant forever.” 5 And your eyes will see this, and you will say, “The Lord be exalted beyond the border of Israel!””

Malachi 1:1-5 (NASB)

Who is Malachi?

Malachi is the only Italian Bible author. 😜 The book is the last in the Old Testament and one of the post-exilic (after the Jewish exile) books we’ve been studying. That’s why we’ve come here from Nehemiah.

We don’t know much about the author other than his name. We also know he was the intermediary between God and Israel, v1; God spoke to Israel through Malachi. The book is unique in its rhetorical question/answer teaching format: God asks a question of Israel, then answers to give them instruction or rebuke.

Q/A 1 – Does God love Israel?

He starts off right away with the first one. Israel, at that time, didn’t “feel” loved, so they asked if God loves them. “Yes, of course!” But how do we know? He states it clearly with a most troubling answer: God loves Israel; in contrast to Esau, whom He hated. If you read this without the context you won’t understand 1) how does this show love and 2) can God hate?

How does God love Israel?

The context of the story of Jacob and Esau (Genesis 25-27) reveals that though Jacob was far from perfect, He had faith in the Lord whereas Esau depended on himself and rejected (disregarded) God’s promise and blessing. As a result, the birthright was transferred to the younger son, Jacob. With it, all the blessings and promises Israel had /has experienced. 

Can God hate?

“God can both love and hate perfectly…” (gotquestions.org) God hated Esau’s sin. As with all people, God was /is ready to love and forgive any who call on Him. Esau chose not to, as many do. There is only one end – punishment.

Esau became the Edomites. This hatred was inherited by them. The Edomites proved this with their attitude expressed in V4: they would even spite God’s prophecy.

The more we study His word, the more we will know and understand Him. I encourage you to continue to make it a priority.

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1 Comment

  1. Another comment on Esau. We would be remiss is we didn’t hightlight the overarching point of the Jacob/Esau situation – grace! God chose Abraham, then Isaac, then Jacob, not Easau, even before the twins were born. (Genesis 25:23). The descendents of Jacob could not but know that their selection in Jacob was by grace alone, not because of any good in them. They could have been justly judged, as Edom, but they were graciously blessed.

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