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Reflecting on Malachi 2 1-9 and 3 5-6

We are studying Malachi 2:1-9 and 3:5-6 for Sunday, March 29, the last Sunday before Holy Week.

We are still trying to figure out how to reflect on Scripture together while staying physically apart. One option that’s always available is sharing comments in the comments section, so please feel free to do that! [Some notes on the text are here.] Here are a few questions about the text to consider:

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Chapter 2 continues a divine address to the priests that began in chapter 1, and that faults the priests for accepting blind and lame animals as sacrifices. Malachi 2:2 tells the priests that if they do not “lay it to heart to give glory to my name” their ritual blessings will be cursed by God.

What is the problem? How are the practices God is responding to failing to “give glory to God’s name,” and who is harmed by not giving glory to God’s name? [That is – is it God? The priests? The people? Who? What makes us think this?]

Since the situation clearly matters to God, and since we usually find that God opposes things that are bad for people, let’s take seriously the possibility that the worship abuses matter to God because they are bad for the people. How, do we think?

More personal: How does the way we answer this question show us what we ourselves think is happening in worship? What do we think is happening in the ancient Judean worship Malachi has in mind? What do we think is happening in our own worship?

Even more personal: How would our way of thinking about worship have to change to accommodate the idea that giving glory to God’s name is good for people or is something people need?

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Why is God addressing the priests, do we think? Why is God holding the priests responsible here?

The priests God is addressing were people with a specific role in an ancient religion with different religious practices than ours. So – is this prophetic message even relevant to us at all today, do we think? How?

[For instance: to whom would God be speaking today? Who would God be holding responsible, and for what? What covenant of life and well-being is still relevant to us, and how does it call for reverence/fear? Etc.]

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What does it mean to “bear witness”? What does it mean that God will “bear witness” against the list of people in Malachi 3:5?

What makes that good news?

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