Lordís Day Evening Meditations - December 21, 2003

"Yet I Loved Jacob."

Malachi 1

Back in the book of Nehemiah, in chapter 10, we saw the remnant full of zeal for the Lord, and intending to do everything for Him. In chapter 12 they were so filled with joy as they dedicated the wall of the city, "that the joy of Jerusalem was heard afar off." Now, only a few years later, the zeal was gone, and the joy was gone also. It was for this reason that the Lord sent them the prophet Malachi to speak to them about their spiritual condition. And this condition was such that, when the prophet pointed out their faults to them, they didnít see anything wrong. See verses 6 and 7 for examples of this blindness to their own condition. It is one thing to do something wrong, knowingly, but it is another to do wrong and not be conscious that it is wrong, and not believe it when it is pointed out.

So when the Lord told them, "I have loved you," they replied, "Wherein hast Thou loved us?" They had lost all sense of His love and questioned the statement of His love for them. We looked a little last week at this revelation of the heart of God Ė His love for His people, then and now. His love being called in question, the Lord then gives them a proof of His love: "Was not Esau Jacobís brother? saith the Lord; yet I loved Jacob." v. 2. Isaac had two sons, twins, Esau and Jacob. If we had known them personally, we probably would have chosen Esau as the nicer man. A brother often points out that you wouldnít have wanted to do business with Jacob because he might have cheated you. However, God rejected Esau and chose Jacob, the ancestor of this Jewish remnant. So when they asked, How do we know you love us? Godís answer was, I chose you.

As to ourselves, God has given us many proofs of His love, but there is one that is brought before us here: the truth of election. "According as He hath chosen us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love." Eph. 1:4. Why is it that you and I are saved and so many others are not? It is because He chose us. Why did He choose Jacob, a schemer, and why did He choose us? Were we better than others, or more likeable, or more deserving? Most certainly not! Why He chose us is a very difficult question to answer, but something we do know is that God is sovereign and can do just as He pleases, and besides, He loves us!

Look again at this verse in Ephesians. "According as He hath chosen us in Him," that is, in Christ. Christ now has a body, a bride that He will soon present to Himself, and all believers today are members of His body. Jacob will be in heaven, but he will not be part of the bride of Christ. Next, when did God choose us? "Before the foundation of the world." Think back to Genesis 1 where we read, "In the beginning, God created the heaven and the earth." Well, before that, God had known us, loved us, and chosen us, "that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love." Doesnít that tell of His love for us? What will it be like to be "holy and without blame"? Every tear, every pain, every trouble and sorrow has as its root cause, the sin that is in the world. When God removes the sin, He will also remove all its consequences, and so to be "holy and without blame before Him in love" will mean to enter into the perfection and fullness of joy, peace, and love. How can we understand that down here? Well, it is what God has chosen us for, in pure grace, according to those divine counsels of love.

But, if Jacob was chosen, Esau was rejected and came under Godís judgment. vs. 3 - 4. We can take Jacob as representing those who believe in Christ and are saved, and Esau as representing those who are not saved. What will happen to those who are not saved? Read Rev. 21:28. "But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murders, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death." We can all easily see ourselves in that list given, especially "the fearful, and unbelieving Ö and all liars." We were guilty, but God loved us and chose us for blessing. What a fearful eternity lies before those who are not saved! Would you rather be in Eph. 1:4 or in Rev. 21:8? Eph. 1:4 describes the eternal portion of those who are saved; Rev. 21:8 describes the eternal portion of those who are not saved. Though guilty, why is it that we are now in Eph. 1:4? It is only because God loved us. He has shown and proven His love to us in many ways, and many times over. Here His sovereign choice is given as proof of the truth of the words, "I have loved you."

After giving the proof of His love, the Lord, in verse 6, goes on to the statement of another problem in the attitude of His people. "Where is Mine honour and Ö where is My fear? saith the Lord of hosts unto you, O priests, that despise My name." Notice those words: "My name." In verse 11 you get "My name" three times, and then you find it again in verse 14, and in verses 2 and 5 of chapter 2. That makes a total of seven times that the Lord says "My name" in chapter 1 and the first 5 verses of chapter 2. There is an important message for us in this Ė His name is very important to Him, and should be also to His people.

If you look closely at your Bible (King James version), you will find that the word "LORD" is usually printed in capital letters in the Old Testament. That means that it is translating the Hebrew name Jehovah; LORD means Jehovah Ė Godís name in covenant relationship with His people Israel. His relationship to us is not under the name of Jehovah. When the Lord was about to come into the world, Joseph was told in Matt. 1:21, "Thou shalt call His name Jesus." Jesus is the Greek form of the Hebrew name Jehoshua, which means "Jehovah is salvation". So what the name Jehovah was to His people Israel in the Old Testament, the name of Jesus is to His people in the New Testament. How important is the name of Jesus to us? How important is it to God?

After the account of His marvellous descent in humiliation, service, and obedience to death, and "even the death of the cross," we then read, "Wherefore God also hath highly exalted Him, and given Him a name which is above every name: that at the name of Jesus every knee shall bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth (infernal beings); and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father." Phil. 2:9 - 11. So what is the name that is above every other name? Jesus. And God has decreed that in a coming day every knee will bow to Him, and every tongue will confess that He is Lord.

Jesus is the name that He took in His humiliation down here. If you look at the cross at Calvary you will see written there, in mockery, "Jesus of Nazareth, the king of the Jews." It is the name under which He was "despised and rejected of men," and therefore God has decreed that it is the name under which He will have supreme honor and authority. Every knee will bow to Him, and every tongue will confess Him Lord. To do so now is to be saved. Those who refuse to do so now will be forced to do so later, to their eternal condemnation.

The Lordís controversy with the priests of His people was, "You, O priests, that despise My name." They had lost their respect for that high and holy name. What about us; do we rightly respect and honor the name of Jesus? To despise the name is to despise the Person. "Where two or three are gathered together in My name, there am I in the midst of them." Matt. 18:20. His name is the only right gathering center. His commendation to the assembly at Philadelphia was, "Thou hast kept My word, and hast not denied My name." Back in the time of Malachi, there were still a few who "feared the Lord, and that thought upon His name." ch. 3:16. What can we do for Him in response for His wonderful love to us? We can truly honor and reverence His name. S.L.