September 30 (Daily reading: Malachi) The Lord declared through Malachi: “I have loved you.” He illustrated this by contrasting his feelings toward Esau and Jacob: “I have loved Jacob; but I have hated Esau” (1:2-3). When Esau despised his birthright (Gen. 25:34), he chose going his own way instead of following the way God had prepared for him. God hated this attitude because it blocked Esau from knowing and following God. This attitude was seen in the Amalekites and the Edomites, who were descendants of Esau. Amalek was Esau’s grandson, and his people were dedicated to the destruction of Israel. For this, they were condemned by God (Ex. 17:14). Haman, who declared a genocide against the Jews, was a descendant of Esau. He was an Agagite (Est. 3:10), from the line of Agag, king of the Amalekites.
In contrast to this, God loved the attitude of Jacob, who sought God’s blessing with all his heart (Gen. 32:26). God loved the people of Malachi’s day, Jacob descendants, even though they had not been faithful to God’s purposes. They were post-exilic, living after the new temple was built, but they had quickly turned away from God. Their sacrifices and offerings were no longer acceptable. God said to them, “I am a great King…and My name is feared among the nations” (1:14). God deserved their respect as their King. They showed disrespect in saying that God was not just, that He delighted in those who did evil (2:17).
Another way that they had displeased God was in their giving. They apparently were not giving the “whole tithe,” and were therefore guilty of robbing God. He told them to be faithful in their giving and see “if I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you a blessing until it overflows” (3:10). “God loves a cheerful giver” (2 Cor. 9:7).
– Al Gary
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