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Malachi 1; Malachi 2; Malachi 3; Malachi 4

1 This message is the word of the Lord given to Israel through Malachi. 2 The Lord said, "I have loved you." But you ask, "How have you loved us?" The Lord said, "Esau and Jacob were brothers. I loved Jacob, 3 but I hated Esau. I destroyed his mountain country and left his land to the wild dogs of the desert." 4 The people of Edom might say, "We were destroyed, but we will go back and rebuild the ruins." But the Lord All-Powerful says, "If they rebuild them, I will destroy them. People will say, 'Edom is a wicked country. The Lord is always angry with the Edomites.' 5 You will see these things with your own eyes. And you will say, 'The Lord is great, even outside the borders of Israel!'" 6 The Lord All-Powerful says, "A child honors his father, and a servant honors his master. I am a father, so why don't you honor me? I am a master, so why don't you respect me? You priests do not respect me. "But you ask, 'How have we shown you disrespect?' 7 "You have shown it by bringing unclean food to my altar. "But you ask, 'What makes it unclean?' "It is unclean because you don't respect the altar of the Lord. 8 When you bring blind animals as sacrifices, that is wrong. When you bring crippled and sick animals, that is wrong. Try giving them to your governor. Would he be pleased with you? He wouldn't accept you," says the Lord All-Powerful. 9 "Now ask God to be kind to you, but he won't accept you with such offerings," says the Lord All-Powerful. 10 "I wish one of you would close the Temple doors so that you would not light useless fires on my altar! I am not pleased with you and will not accept your gifts," says the Lord All-Powerful. 11 "From the east to the west I will be honored among the nations. Everywhere they will bring incense and clean offerings to me, because I will be honored among the nations," says the Lord All-Powerful. 12 "But you don't honor me. You say about the Lord's altar, 'It is unclean, and the food has no worth.' 13 You say, 'We are tired of doing this,' and you sniff at it in disgust," says the Lord All-Powerful. "And you bring hurt, crippled, and sick animals as gifts. You bring them as gifts, but I won't accept them from you," says the Lord. 14 "The person who cheats will be cursed. He has a male animal in his flock and promises to offer it, but then he offers to the Lord an animal that has something wrong with it. I am a great king," says the Lord All-Powerful, "and I am feared by all the nations.
1 "Priests, this command is for you. 2 Listen to me. Pay attention to what I say. Honor my name," says the Lord All-Powerful. "If you don't, I will send a curse on you and on your blessings. I have already cursed them, because you don't pay attention to what I say. 3 "I will punish your descendants. I will smear your faces with the animal insides left from your feasts, and you will be thrown away with it. 4 Then you will know that I am giving you this command so my agreement with Levi will continue," says the Lord All-Powerful. 5 "My agreement for priests was with the tribe of Levi. I promised them life and peace so they would honor me. And they did honor me and fear me. 6 They taught the true teachings and spoke no lies. With peace and honesty they did what I said they should do, and they kept many people from sinning. 7 "A priest should teach what he knows, and people should learn the teachings from him, because he is the messenger of the Lord All-Powerful. 8 But you priests have stopped obeying me. With your teachings you have caused many people to do wrong. You have broken the agreement with the tribe of Levi!" says the Lord All-Powerful. 9 "You have not been careful to do what I say, but instead you take sides in court cases. So I have caused you to be hated and disgraced in front of everybody." 10 We all have the same father; the same God made us. So why do people break their promises to each other and show no respect for the agreement our ancestors made with God? 11 The people of Judah have broken their promises. They have done something God hates in Israel and Jerusalem: The people of Judah did not respect the Temple that the Lord loves, and the men of Judah married women who worship foreign gods. 12 Whoever does this might bring offerings to the Lord All-Powerful, but the Lord will still cut that person off from the community of Israel. 13 This is another thing you do. You cover the Lord's altar with your tears. You cry and moan, because he does not accept your offerings and is not pleased with what you bring. 14 You ask, "Why?" It is because the Lord sees how you treated the wife you married when you were young. You broke your promise to her, even though she was your partner and you had an agreement with her. 15 God made husbands and wives to become one body and one spirit for his purpose -- so they would have children who are true to God. So be careful, and do not break your promise to the wife you married when you were young. 16 The Lord God of Israel says, "I hate divorce. And I hate people who do cruel things as easily as they put on clothes," says the Lord All-Powerful. So be careful. And do not break your trust. 17 You have tired the Lord with your words. You ask, "How have we tired him?" You did it by saying, "The Lord thinks anyone who does evil is good, and he is pleased with them." Or you asked, "Where is the God who is fair?"
1 The Lord All-Powerful says, "I will send my messenger, who will pre- pare the way for me. Suddenly, the Lord you are looking for will come to his Temple; the messenger of the agreement, whom you want, will come." 2 No one can live through that time; no one can survive when he comes. He will be like a purifying fire and like laundry soap. 3 Like someone who heats and purifies silver, he will purify the Levites and make them pure like gold and silver. Then they will bring offerings to the Lord in the right way. 4 And the Lord will accept the offerings from Judah and Jerusalem, as it was in the past. 5 The Lord All-Powerful says, "Then I will come to you and judge you. I will be quick to testify against those who take part in evil magic, adultery, and lying under oath, those who cheat workers of their pay and who cheat widows and orphans, those who are unfair to foreigners, and those who do not respect me. 6 "I the Lord do not change. So you descendants of Jacob have not been destroyed. 7 Since the time of your ancestors, you have disobeyed my rules and have not kept them. Return to me, and I will return to you," says the Lord All-Powerful. "But you ask, 'How can we return?' 8 "Should a person rob God? But you are robbing me. "You ask, 'How have we robbed you?' "You have robbed me in your offerings and the tenth of your crops. 9 So a curse is on you, because the whole nation has robbed me. 10 Bring to the storehouse a full tenth of what you earn so there will be food in my house. Test me in this," says the Lord All-Powerful. "I will open the windows of heaven for you and pour out all the blessings you need. 11 I will stop the insects so they won't eat your crops. The grapes won't fall from your vines before they are ready to pick," says the Lord All-Powerful. 12 "All the nations will call you blessed, because you will have a pleasant country," says the Lord All-Powerful. 13 The Lord says, "You have said terrible things about me. "But you ask, 'What have we said about you?' 14 "You have said, 'It is useless to serve God. It did no good to obey his laws and to show the Lord All-Powerful that we were sorry for what we did. 15 So we say that proud people are happy. Evil people succeed. They challenge God and get away with it.'" 16 Then those who honored the Lord spoke with each other, and the Lord listened and heard them. The names of those who honored the Lord and respected him were written in his presence in a book to be remembered. 17 The Lord All-Powerful says, "They belong to me; on that day they will be my very own. As a parent shows mercy to his child who serves him, I will show mercy to my people. 18 You will again see the difference between good and evil people, between those who serve God and those who don't.
1 "There is a day coming that will burn like a hot furnace, and all the proud and evil people will be like straw. On that day they will be completely burned up so that not a root or branch will be left," says the Lord All-Powerful. 2 "But for you who honor me, goodness will shine on you like the sun, with healing in its rays. You will jump around, like well-fed calves. 3 Then you will crush the wicked like ashes under your feet on the day I will do this," says the Lord All-Powerful. 4 "Remember the teaching of Moses my servant, those laws and rules I gave to him on Mount Sinai for all the Israelites. 5 "But I will send you Elijah the prophet before that great and terrifying day of the Lord's judging. 6 Elijah will help parents love their children and children love their parents. Otherwise, I will come and put a curse on the land."