Malachi 3:7 MEANING

Malachi 3:7
(7) Even from . . . fathers.--Throughout the whole course of their history they had been a people (Exodus 32:9, &c.); and now, when exhorted to repent, they ask in feigned innocence:--

Wherein shall we return? . . . Return unto me . . . unto you.--Comp. Zechariah 1:3.

Verses 7-12. § 2. God indeed is faithful to his promises, but the people's own conduct has occasioned the withholding of favours: they have been shamefully negligent in the matter of tithes and offerings; let them amend their practice, and they shall be blessed. Verse 7. - Ye are gone away (have turned aside) from mine ordinances. Disobedience was no new offence; they had always from early days been persistent in wickedness; and if the performance of God's sure promise was delayed, this was because they had not fulfilled the conditions on which rested its accomplishment. Return: unto me, and I will return unto you (Zechariah 1:3, where see note). Man must cooperate with God's preventing grace, and then God gives him further grace unto repentance and amendment. Here, if the people followed the preaching of the prophets and obeyed the promptings of the Holy Spirit, God promises to bless and save them. Wherein shall we return? Here is the Pharisaical spirit, as in Malachi 1:6, etc. They do not acknowledge their offence; they consider that they are righteous and need no repentance.

3:7-12 The men of that generation turned away from God, they had not kept his ordinances. God gives them a gracious call. But they said, Wherein shall we return? God notices what returns our hearts make to the calls of his word. It shows great perverseness in sin, when men make afflictions excuses for sin, which are sent to part between them and their sins. Here is an earnest exhortation to reform. God must be served in the first place; and the interest of our souls ought to be preferred before that of our bodies. Let them trust God to provide for their comfort. God has blessings ready for us, but through the weakness of our faith and the narrowness of our desires, we have not room to receive them. He who makes trial will find nothing is lost by honouring the Lord with his substance.Even from the days of your fathers ye are gone away from mine ordinances,.... Here begins an enumeration of the sins of the Jews, which were the cause of their ruin; and here is first a general charge of apostasy from the statutes and ordinances of the law, which they made void by the traditions of the fathers; and therefore this word is used as referring to this evil, as well as to express their early, long, and continued departure from the ways of God; which as it was an aggravation of their sin, that they should have so long ago forsook the ordinances of God,

and have not kept them, but transgressed them by observing the traditions of men, Matthew 15:3 so it is an instance of the patience and forbearance of God, that they were not as yet consumed; and of his grace and goodness, that he should address them as follows:

Return unto me, and I will return unto you, saith the Lord of hosts; this message was carried to them by John the Baptist, the forerunner of Christ, and by Christ himself, who both preached the doctrine of repentance to this people, Matthew 3:2. The Targum is,

"return to my worship, and I will look in my word to do well unto you, saith the Lord of hosts;''

and such who returned, and believed in Christ, and submitted to his ordinances, it was well with them.

But ye said, Wherein shall we return? what have we to turn from, or repent of? what evils have we done, or can be charged on us? what need have we of repentance or conversion, or of such an exhortation to it? do not we keep the law, and all the rituals of it? this is the true language of the Pharisees in Christ's time, who, touching the righteousness of the law, were blameless in their own esteem, and were the ninety and nine just persons that needed not repentance, Luke 15:7.

Courtesy of Open Bible