Today we pray for the Nation of Syria and Consider Malachi 1:1-5

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Today we are praying for the country of Syria.  Please help us  lift up this nation to the Lord today.  You can follow the two links below to learn more about the nation and its unreached people groups.  You can watch the video below to help guide you in your prayers.  

Please take time to meditate on the devotion for today as well.  

You can learn more about today's nation of by clicking here

You can learn about the different unreached people groups of today's nation by clicking here

Please join us in praying for this nation by joining in prayer with the video below.

SYRIA Continent: Asia | Capital City: Damascus Government: Republic | Population: 20,178,485 Major People Groups: 92% Arab, 7% Kurd, 1% Armenian Religion: 90% Muslim, 5% Christian, 2% Non Language: Arabic/Kurdish | GDP Per Capita: $4,100 Literacy Rate: 79.6% UNREACHED: 42.4%

This week we begin our study of the book of Malachi:  The Lord of Hosts.  The Title Lord of Hosts is used some 24 times in these 4 short chapters.  As we walk through this short prophecy we will see this title resurface and we will see its significance as we go.  In this text, I believe the message that is to be conveyed by the name Lord of Hosts is as follows:  The Lord of Hosts has the freedom, right, and power to bestow His love, mercy, and grace on whomever He chooses.  Likewise, The Lord of Hosts has the freedom, right, and power to bestow His anger, wrath, and judgement on whomever He chooses. We read…

The oracle 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 not Esau 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 appointed his inheritance for the jackals of the wilderness.” 4 Though Edom says, “We have been beaten down, but we will return and build up the ruins”; thus says the LORD of hosts, “They may build, but I will tear down; and men will call them the wicked territory, and the people toward whom the LORD is indignant forever.” 5 Your eyes will see this and you will say, “The LORD be magnified beyond the border of Israel!” 

Notice how the prophecy begins.  “The oracle of the word of the LORD to Israel through Malachi.” The oracle, literally burden, of the word of the Lord.  It may seem odd that Malachi’s message is referred to as a burden, but we must understand that the Word of God is never light and trifling. It is always weighty, serious, and heavy on the heart of the messenger of God.  Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 9:16, “For if I preach the gospel, I have nothing to boast of, for I am under compulsion; for woe is me if I do not preach the gospel.”  Cleary God’s message was a burden in the heart of Paul.  We can feel the burden in the heart of the Psalmist in Psalm 123:3-4:  “Be gracious to us, O LORD, be gracious to us, For we are greatly filled with contempt.  4 Our soul is greatly filled With the scoffing of those who are at ease, And with the contempt of the proud.”  Pay careful attention to what the Psalmist says here.  He admits that they are greatly filled with contempt, but also that their souls are greatly filled with the scoffing of those who are at ease.  Their hearts, souls, minds, and emotions are overwhelmed with, or by, the scoffing of those who are at ease.  They are burdened by those who are so content with their current state, so apathetic over the things of God, that they are filled up and burdened down!  They are not only greatly filled with the scoffing of those at ease, but hey are also greatly filled with the contempt of the proud.  They are burdened, overwhelmed, and filled up with the contempt of the prideful and arrogant around them.  To see the response of the masses to the Word of God burdens and breaks the heart of the Psalmist.  The message of God is a burden.  Jeremiah wrote in Jeremiah 20:9, “But if I say, “I will not remember Him Or speak anymore in His name,” Then in my heart it becomes like a burning fire Shut up in my bones; And I am weary of holding it in, And I cannot endure it.”  The word of God is NEVER light and trifling. It is always weighty, serious, and heavy.

What does this message consist of?  

First, the message begins with God declaring His love for His people.  Malachi writes in verse 2, “I have loved you,” says the LORD.”  The force of the Hebrew verb form renders I have loved is, “I have loved you and still do.”  There was no question that God had repeatedly declared His love for His people, Israel.  Zechariah 2:8 says, “For thus says the LORD of hosts, “After glory He has sent me against the nations which plunder you, for he who touches you, touches the apple of His eye.”  Jeremiah 31:1-5 is very clear: “At that time,” declares the LORD, “I will be the God of all the families of Israel, and they shall be My people.” 2 Thus says the LORD, “The people who survived the sword Found grace in the wilderness--Israel, when it went to find its rest.” 3 The LORD appeared to him from afar, saying, “I have loved you with an everlasting love; Therefore I have drawn you with lovingkindness. 4 “Again I will build you and you will be rebuilt, O virgin of Israel! Again you will take up your tambourines, And go forth to the dances of the merrymakers. 5 “Again you will plant vineyards On the hills of Samaria; The planters will plant And will enjoy them.”  Cleary, God loves His people, and has plainly declared that to them.  However, we see in the latter part of verse 2 that they deny His love.  “But you say, “How have You loved us?”  It is almost as if they are doubting God’s Word.  In effect, the people were saying, “God, you say you love us, but what have you ever done to prove it?”  This subtle accusation leads to God demonstrating His love for them very clearly.  

We read in the latter part of verse 2 down through verse four God demonstrating His special love for His chosen people.  Malachi writes, “Was not Esau 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 appointed his inheritance for the jackals of the wilderness.” 4 Though Edom says, “We have been beaten down, but we will return and build up the ruins”; thus says the LORD of hosts, “They may build, but I will tear down; and men will call them the wicked territory, and the people toward whom the LORD is indignant forever.”

He clearly declared His love for them.  Since they denied His clear Word, in His mercy and grace, He gave them a clear demonstration of His love. We will see that tomorrow.  Until then...

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