Malachi 1:1–3: “The burden of the word of the LORD to Israel by Malachi. / ‘I have loved you,’ says the LORD. / ‘Yet you say, “In what way have You loved us?” / ‘Was not Esau Jacob’s brother?’ / Says the LORD. / ‘Yet Jacob I have loved; / But Esau I have hated, / And laid waste his mountains and his heritage / For the jackals of the wilderness.'”

September 24th, 2018 by Pastor Ed in devotional

Malachi (who’s name means messenger) was the last of the Old Testament prophets. He prophesied around 420 BC, bringing the final word of the Lord, through the prophets, until the New Testament when God the Son appeared. God began His last prophetic message to His people with a statement that should make all of us stop and think: “I have loved you.” Sadly, the people rejected this statement and argued that they did not see any way that God had loved them. But they were only looking at what they had lost during their captivity in Babylon, and that because of their own rebellion. But God graciously reminded them that Jacob (the original name for Israel) is His beloved people. He reaffirmed His love to them by reminding them of His covenant choice of Jacob over his twin brother Esau (referring to the nation made up of Esau’s descendants, Edom).

This is a continuing theme throughout the Old and New Testaments, that God loves people to the point that He pays an enormous price to reconcile them back to himself. But for those who oppose Israel, God opposes them. Esau’s offspring showed only contempt for their relatives, the children of Jacob; and whenever God was disciplining the Jews, by sending invading armies, the Edomites watched for opportunities to raid the Jewish villages near their border. Finally God allowed Edom to be over run by the Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar who, “laid waste his mountains and his heritage.” Later Egypt attacked those who had survived the Babylonians, and finally, in about 550 BC, their homeland was taken over by the Nabateans. This was exactly what God had promised to Abraham concerning his children way back in Genesis 12:3: “I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.”

When Count Zinzendorf (1700–1760), the founder of the Moravian mission movement, met a Jewish rabbi named Abraham, he extended his hand to the rabbi and said, “Gray hairs are a crown of glory. I can see from your head and the expression of your eyes that you have much experience both of heart and life. In the Name of the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, let us be friends.” The old rabbi had never heard such words from a Christian before and was deeply moved by the sign of friendship. The count said, “I am sure you have probably not heard such a greeting from a Christian before. Most likely they have greeted you with words like, ‘Begone, Jew!'” When the rabbi began to cry, the count said, “Enough, father. We worship the same God, and we understand each other. What stops us from being friends.” After some years of friendship, Count Zinzendorf led the rabbi to accept Jesus as his Messiah.1

“LORD, help us to love Your people into a relationship with the Messiah.”

1Benge, Janet and Geoff, Count Zinzendorf: Firstfruit (Christian Heroes Then & Now), (Seattle: YWAM Publishing, 2005), p. 113.