1 This is the LORD's message to Israel through Malachi. 2 "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 3 instead of Esau. I turned Esau's mountains into a dry and empty land. I left that land of Edom to the wild dogs in the desert." 4 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. 5 You will see it with your own eyes. You will say, 'The LORD is great! He rules even beyond the borders of Israel!' 6 "A son honors his father. A servant 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?' 7 "You put 'unclean' food on my altar. "But you ask, 'How have we made you "unclean?" ' "You do it by looking down on my altar. 8 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. 9 "Now you dare to ask me to show you my favor! But as long as you give offerings like those, how can I 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 is 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 my altar is 'unclean.' And you look down on its food. 13 You say, 'What a heavy load our work is!' And you turn your nose up 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?
1 "Now I am giving a warning to you priests. 2 Listen to it. Honor me with all your heart," says the LORD who rules over all. "If you do not, I will send a curse on you. I will turn your blessings into curses. In fact, I have already done that because you have not honored me with all your heart. 3 "Because of what you have done, I will punish your children. I will smear the guts from your sacrifices on your faces. And you will be carried off to the dump along with them. 4 You will know that I have given you a warning. I have warned you so that my covenant with Levi will continue," says the LORD who rules over all. 5 "My covenant promised Levi life and peace. So I gave them to him. I required him to respect me. And he had great respect for my name. 6 True teaching came from his mouth. Nothing but the truth came from his lips. He walked with me in peace. He did what was right. He turned many people away from their sins. 7 "The lips of a priest should guard knowledge. People should look for true teaching from his mouth. After all, he is my messenger. 8 But you have turned away from the right path. Your teaching has caused many people to trip and fall. You have broken my covenant with Levi," says the LORD who rules over all. 9 "So I have caused all of the people to hate you. They have lost respect for you. You have not done what I told you to do. Instead, you have favored one person over another in matters of the law." 10 People of Judah, all of us have one Father. One God created us. So why do we break the covenant the LORD made with our people long ago? We don't even keep our promises to one another. 11 You have broken your promises. A hateful thing has been done in Israel and Jerusalem. The LORD loves his temple. But you have polluted it. You men have married women who worship other gods. 12 May the LORD punish you who do that. It doesn't matter who you are. May the LORD who rules over all cut you off from the tents of Jacob's people. May he remove you even if you bring offerings to him. 13 Here's something else you do. You flood the LORD's altar with your tears. You sob and cry because he doesn't pay attention to your offerings anymore. He doesn't accept them from your hands with pleasure. 14 You ask, "Why?" It's because the LORD is holding you accountable. He watches how you treat the wife you married when you were young. You have broken your promise to her. You did it even though she's your partner. You promised to stay married to her. And the LORD was a witness to it. 15 Hasn't he made the two of you one? Both of you belong to him in body and spirit. And why has he made you one? Because he was looking for godly children. So guard yourself in your spirit. Don't break your promise to the wife you married when you were young. 16 "I hate divorce," says the LORD God of Israel. "I hate it when people do anything that harms others," says the LORD who rules over all. So guard yourself in your spirit. And don't break your promises. 17 You have worn the LORD out by what you keep saying. "How have we worn him out?" you ask. You have done it by saying, "All those who do evil things are good in the Lord's sight. And he is pleased with them." Or you ask, "Is God really fair?"
1 The LORD who rules over all says, "I will send my messenger. He will prepare my way for me. Then suddenly the Lord you are looking for will come to his temple. The messenger of the covenant will come. He is the one you long for." 2 But who can live through the day when he comes? Who will be left standing when he appears? He will be like a fire that makes things pure. He will be like soap that makes things clean. 3 He will act like one who makes silver pure. And he will purify the Levites, just as gold and silver are purified with fire. Then the LORD's people will bring proper offerings. 4 And the offerings of Judah and Jerusalem will be acceptable to him. It will be as it was in days and years gone by. 5 "So I will come and judge you. I will be quick to bring charges against all of you," says the LORD who rules over all. "I will bring charges against you sinful people who do not have any respect for me. That includes those who practice evil magic. It includes those who commit adultery and those who tell lies in court. It includes those who cheat workers out of their pay. It includes those who crush widows. It also includes those who mistreat children whose fathers have died. And it includes those who take away the rights of outsiders in the courts. 6 "I am the Lord. I do not change. That is why I have not destroyed you members of Jacob's family. 7 You have turned away from my rules. You have not obeyed them. You have lived that way ever since the days of your people long ago. Return to me. Then I will return to you," says the LORD who rules over all. "But you ask, 'How can we return?' 8 "Will a man dare to steal from me? But you rob me! "You ask, 'How do we rob you?' "By holding back your offerings. You also steal from me when you do not bring me a tenth of everything you produce. 9 So you are under my curse. In fact, your whole nation is under it. That is because you are robbing me. 10 "Bring the entire tenth to the storerooms in my temple. Then there will be plenty of food. Put me to the test," says the Lord. "Then you will see that I will throw open the windows of heaven. I will pour out so many blessings that you will not have enough room for them. 11 I will keep bugs from eating up your crops. And your grapes will not drop from the vines before they are ripe," says the Lord. 12 "Then all of the nations will call you blessed. Your land will be delightful," says the LORD who rules over all. 13 "You have spoken bad things against me," says the Lord. "But you ask, 'What have we spoken against you?' 14 "You have said, 'It is useless to serve God. What did we gain by obeying his laws? And what did we get by pretending to be sad in front of the LORD? 15 But now we call proud people blessed. Things go well with those who do what is evil. And God doesn't even punish those who argue with him.' " 16 Those who had respect for the LORD talked with one another. They cheered each other up. And the LORD heard them. A list of people and what they did was written on a scroll in front of him. It included the names of those who respected the LORD and honored him. 17 "They will belong to me," says the LORD who rules over all. "They will be my special treasure. I will spare them just as a loving father spares his son who serves him. 18 Then once again you will see the difference between godly people and sinful people. And you will see the difference between those who serve me and those who do not.
1 "You can be sure the day of the LORD is coming. My anger will burn like a furnace. All those who are proud will be like straw. So will all those who do what is evil. The day that is coming will set them on fire," says the LORD who rules over all. "Not even a root or a branch will be left to them. 2 "But here is what will happen for you who have respect for me. The sun that brings life will rise. Its rays will bring healing to my people. You will go out and leap like calves that have just been let out of the barn. 3 "Then you will stomp on sinful people. They will be like ashes under your feet. That will happen on the day I act," says the Lord. 4 "Remember the law my servant Moses gave you. Remember the rules and laws I gave him at Mount Horeb. They were for the whole nation of Israel. 5 "I will send you the prophet Elijah. He will come before the day of the LORD arrives. It will be a great and terrifying day. 6 Elijah will teach parents how to love their children. He will also teach children how to honor their parents. If that does not happen, I will come. And I will put a curse on the land."