God Tells Israel to Be Loyal
1This message is the word of the Lord. It is given to Israel through Malachi.
God Loves Israel
2The Lord said, “I love you.”
But you ask, “How have you loved us?”
The Lord said, “Esau and Jacob were brothers. I loved Jacob, 3but I hated Esau. I destroyed his mountain country. I left his land to the wild dogs of the desert.”
4The people of Edom might say, “We were destroyed. But we will go back and rebuild the ruins.”
But the Lord of heaven’s armies says, “If they rebuild them, I will destroy them. People will say, ‘Edom is the Wicked Country. The Lord is always angry with the Edomites.’ 5You will see these things with your own eyes. You will say, ‘The Lord is great, even outside the borders of Israel!’”
The Priests Don’t Respect God
6The Lord of heaven’s armies says, “A son honors his father. 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 sacrifices to my altar.
“But you ask, ‘What makes them unclean?’
“They are unclean because you don’t show respect for my altar. 8You bring blind animals as sacrifices, and that is wrong. 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 of heaven’s armies.
9“Now ask God to be kind to you. But he won’t accept you with such offerings,” says the Lord of heaven’s armies.
10“I wish one of you would close the Temple doors. Then you would not light useless fires on my altar! I am not pleased with you. I will not accept your gifts,” says the Lord of heaven’s armies. 11“From the east to the west I will be honored among the nations. Everywhere they will bring incense and clean offerings to me. I will be honored among the nations,” says the Lord of heaven’s armies.
12“But you don’t honor me. You say about the Lord’s altar, ‘It is unclean. The food has no worth.’ 13You say, ‘We are tired of doing this.’ And you sniff at it in disgust,” says the Lord of heaven’s armies.
“And you bring hurt, crippled and sick animals. You bring them as gifts. But I won’t accept them from you,” says the Lord. 14“The cheat will be cursed. He has an animal in his flock. He promises to offer it. But then he offers me an animal that has something wrong with it. I am a great king,” says the Lord of heaven’s armies. “I am feared by all the nations.