New International Reader's Version

Malachi 1

1This is a prophecy. It is the Lord’s message to Israel through Malachi.

Israel Doubts God’s Love

“Israel, I have loved you,” says the Lord.

“But you ask, ‘How have you loved us?’

“Wasn’t Esau Jacob’s brother?” says the Lord. “But I chose Jacob instead of Esau. I have turned Esau’s hill country into a dry and empty land. I left that land of Edom to the wild dogs in the desert.”

Edom might say, “We have been crushed. But we’ll rebuild our cities.”

The Lord who rules over all says, “They might rebuild their cities. But I will destroy them. They will be called the Evil Land. My anger will always remain on them. You will see it with your own eyes. You will say, ‘The Lord is great! He rules even beyond the borders of Israel!’

Give Your Best to the Lord

“A son honors his father. A slave honors his master. If I am a father, where is the honor I should have? If I am a master, where is the respect you should give me?” says the Lord who rules over all.

“You priests look down on me.

“But you ask, ‘How have we looked down on you?’

“You sacrifice ‘unclean’ food on my altar.

“But you ask, ‘How have we made you “unclean”?’

“You do it by looking down on my altar. You sacrifice blind animals to me. Isn’t that wrong? You sacrifice disabled or sick animals. Isn’t that wrong? Try offering them to your governor! Would he be pleased with you? Would he accept you?” says the Lord who rules over all.

“Now plead with God to be gracious to us! But as long as you give offerings like those, how can he accept you?” says the Lord.

10 “You might as well shut the temple doors! Then you would not light useless fires on my altar. I am not pleased with you,” says the Lord. “I will not accept any of the offerings you bring. 11 My name will be great among the nations. They will worship me from where the sun rises in the east to where it sets in the west. In every place, incense and pure offerings will be brought to me. That’s because my name will be great among the nations,” says the Lord.

12 “But you treat my name as if it were not holy. You say the Lord’s altar is ‘unclean.’ And you look down on its food. 13 You say, ‘What a heavy load our work is!’ And you turn up your nose. You act as if you hate working for me,” says the Lord who rules over all.

“You bring animals that have been hurt. Or you bring disabled or sick animals. Then you dare to offer them to me as sacrifices! Should I accept them from you?” says the Lord. 14 “Suppose you have a male sheep or goat that does not have any flaws. And you promise to offer it to me. But then you sacrifice an animal that has flaws. When you do that, you cheat me. And anyone who cheats me is under my curse. After all, I am a great king,” says the Lord who rules over all. “The other nations have respect for my name. So why don’t you respect it?

The Message

Malachi 1

No More of This So-Called Worship!

1A Message. God’s Word to Israel through Malachi:

2-3 God said, “I love you.”

You replied, “Really? How have you loved us?”

“Look at history” (this is God’s answer). “Look at how differently I’ve treated you, Jacob, from Esau: I loved Jacob and hated Esau. I reduced pretentious Esau to a molehill, turned his whole country into a ghost town.”

When Edom (Esau) said, “We’ve been knocked down, but we’ll get up and start over, good as new,” God-of-the-Angel-Armies said, “Just try it and see how far you get. When I knock you down, you stay down. People will take one look at you and say, ‘Land of Evil!’ and ‘the God-cursed tribe!’

“Yes, take a good look. Then you’ll see how faithfully I’ve loved you and you’ll want even more, saying, ‘May God be even greater, beyond the borders of Israel!’

“Isn’t it true that a son honors his father and a worker his master? So if I’m your Father, where’s the honor? If I’m your Master, where’s the respect?” God-of-the-Angel-Armies is calling you on the carpet: “You priests despise me!

“You say, ‘Not so! How do we despise you?’

“By your shoddy, sloppy, defiling worship.

“You ask, ‘What do you mean, “defiling”? What’s defiling about it?’

7-8 “When you say, ‘The altar of God is not important anymore; worship of God is no longer a priority,’ that’s defiling. And when you offer worthless animals for sacrifices in worship, animals that you’re trying to get rid of—blind and sick and crippled animals—isn’t that defiling? Try a trick like that with your banker or your senator—how far do you think it will get you?” God-of-the-Angel-Armies asks you.

“Get on your knees and pray that I will be gracious to you. You priests have gotten everyone in trouble. With this kind of conduct, do you think I’ll pay attention to you?” God-of-the-Angel-Armies asks you.

10 “Why doesn’t one of you just shut the Temple doors and lock them? Then none of you can get in and play at religion with this silly, empty-headed worship. I am not pleased. The God-of-the-Angel-Armies is not pleased. And I don’t want any more of this so-called worship!

Offering God Something Hand-Me-Down, Broken, or Useless

11 “I am honored all over the world. And there are people who know how to worship me all over the world, who honor me by bringing their best to me. They’re saying it everywhere: ‘God is greater, this God-of-the-Angel-Armies.’

12-13 “All except you. Instead of honoring me, you profane me. You profane me when you say, ‘Worship is not important, and what we bring to worship is of no account,’ and when you say, ‘I’m bored—this doesn’t do anything for me.’ You act so superior, sticking your noses in the air—act superior to me, God-of-the-Angel-Armies! And when you do offer something to me, it’s a hand-me-down, or broken, or useless. Do you think I’m going to accept it? This is God speaking to you!

14 “A curse on the person who makes a big show of doing something great for me—an expensive sacrifice, say—and then at the last minute brings in something puny and worthless! I’m a great king, God-of-the-Angel-Armies, honored far and wide, and I’ll not put up with it!”