Appreciate Your Blessings
Study Text – Malachi 1:1-5
When I was in elementary school, my classmates exchanged Christmas gifts
with one another. One year I received a gift that I felt was totally
insignificant. Well, that afternoon as I was getting off the bus, a friend
asked, "what you got?" A little disgusted, I didn’t say anything. I
simply showed the gift to him. To my surprise, he responded, "That’s
neat!" So I handed my gift to him and walked off the bus.
Later that afternoon, when I finally got settled at home, my mom asked,
"So what did you get from your classmate?" You see, at the
time, my mom was also our bus driver. And although I didn’t know it, she had
witnessed everything—including my nonchalant, "couldn’t care less" attitude
when I gave my gift away. Well, everything else that happened between the
question and the "whuppin’" escapes my memory. I probably remember
the whuppin’ so clearly because I really got "tore up from the floor
This week we take a look at the beginning of Malachi, a book written by a
prophet whom God used to speak to Israel, a country with lukewarm faith. When
it came to serving God, Israel believed in practicing the "bare
minimum," for they, too, had forgotten the importance of the blessings that
had been bestowed upon them.
The 1st verse sets the tone for our text: "The burden of the
word of the Lord to Israel by Malachi" (KJ, emphasis added). Now the word
of the Lord can be one of two things: a blessing or a burden. It’s a blessing
when you are living according to His will, for it confirms the promises of the
spiritual and physical prosperity He has for you. However, it’s a burden if
you’re living "foul" because it tells of the doom and destruction
that awaits you. Even though the people of Israel were on their way to
destruction, the Lord still loved them. He told them, "I loved you, but
you[Israel] asked how have I loved you?"(2nd) [Note: Now
as we study Malachi we see the defensive nature of humans in several places.
Yet we also see the Lord’s wisdom showing us how well He knows his creations.
He knows that humans get defensive when they are wrong; therefore in this book
you will see the Lord ask Israel’s questions and answer them as well.]
The Lord starts his answer with this: "Was Esau not Jacob’s brother yet
I loved him?" (2nd)
Quick overview on Esau and Jacob (Genesis 25:19-34):
These two were twins who even wrestled in their mother’s
womb because they represented two conflicting nations—(Jacob-Israel) and
(Esau-Edom). They were the sons of Isaac who was the son of Abraham [Father of
Many Nations]. Therefore, the first one born would be the heir to Abraham’s
kingdom, which was now Isaac’s. God blessed Esau to be born first, but when he
was born he found Jacob close behind, hanging on to his heel. Jacob’s actions,
even as a newborn, suggested that he wanted that inheritance.
As the twins grew up, Esau became a hunter and Jacob
dwelled among the tents. One day after hunting in the country, Esau came in
hungry and asked Jacob for some stew. Jacob agreed to give him some if Esau
would "sell [him his] birthright." So Esau sold his birthright to his
inheritance and Jacob capitalized on Esau’s misplaced priorities. [Later in
Genesis Jacob even tricks his father into giving him Esau’s blessing.]
So the Lord told Israel that He loved Jacob, but why? Surely Jacob wasn’t
the best example of morals and ethics, yet the Lord still loved him and here
are a few reasons why:
(1) Jacob realized the importance of the family inheritance.
Even though Jacob was underhanded and deceptive, he
understood that the family inheritance was very significant. He also took steps
to increase the family inheritance even though they too were deceptive. This of
course was not God’s preferred method of doing business, yet God loved Jacob
(as He does us) in spite of his (our) shortcomings.
(2) Jacob feared God and moved when God told him to move.
Believe it or not, Jacob acknowledged and feared God.
Whenever the Lord spoke to him, Jacob moved swiftly according to the Lord’s
Surprisingly in the 3rd verse the Lord tells Israel, "But Esau (Edom) I
have hated." Surely our hearts go out to Esau. This poor fellow lost his
inheritance over a bowl of stew; it wasn’t fair for Jacob to take advantage of
his hunger. But remember the decision was still Esau’s choice and it was an
ungodly one. Esau chose not to wait on the Lord for deliverance. Instead he
chose to deliver himself. This led to him throwing his inheritance away in a
manner deemed profane in Hebrews 12:16 – "Lest there be any fornicator, or
profane person, as Esau, who for one morsel of meat sold his birthright."
Esau’s lack of appreciation led to a curse on his entire lineage (Edom). In
the 4th & 5th verses the Lord tells Israel, "After defeat Edom will
try to rebuild but I will demolish. They will be called the Wicked Land,
a person always under the wrath of the LORD." Now if this ain’t a whuppin’
I don’t know what is. No matter what Edom does to rebuild, the Lord is going to
destroy the effort.
The Lord also says in the 5th verse, "You will see it with your own
eyes and say, ‘Great is the Lord – even beyond the borders of Israel!" In
other words, the Lord’s whuppin’ on Edom is so severe the people in Israel are
going to clearly see it and KNOW it was from Him. We can consider this like a
"friend’s whuppin’." Remember when you were over to a friend’s house
and he/she got a whuppin’ for doing something. Well, that was a lesson that we
could chalk up as an easy one because no pain was involved on our end. This is
what the Lord is trying to imply to Israel – "Your little friend is
getting worn out; you’d better learn from this – hint, hint."
Edom’s whuppin’ definitely reminds me of the one I got for having no regard
for my blessing. Even though I thought very little of it, a higher authority
and someone else thought much of it. Therefore, the other person ended up with
the blessing and I ended up with a whuppin’! God’s blessings are ever present
and infinite. We should never view ANY of them as small or insignificant. When
we begin to do this, we take our blessings; for granted. None of us really lose
our blessing we either throw them away or let them be taken away. So let’s use
heavenly wisdom and guard our blessings fervently while sharing them with loved