Bible Verse Explanations and Resources


Malachi 1:6

Adam Clarke
Bible Commentary

A son honoreth his father - I am your Father - where, then, is my honor? Where your filial obedience?

If I be a master, where is my fear? - The respect due to me.

Albert Barnes
Notes on the Whole Bible

A son honoreth his father, and a slave his lord - Having spoken of the love of God, he turns to the thanklessness of man. God appeals to the first feelings of the human heart, the relation of parent and child, or, failing this, to the natural self-interest of those dependent on their fellow-men. A “son” by the instinct of nature, by the unwritten law written in the heart, “honoreth his father.” If he fails to do so, he is counted to have broken the law of nature, to be an unnatural son. If he is, what by nature he ought to be, he does really honor him. He does not even speak of love, as to which they might deceive themselves. He speaks of “honor,” outward reverence only; which whoso showeth not, would openly condemn himself as an unnatural son, a bad slave. “Of course,” the Jews would say, “children honor parents, and slaves their masters, but what is that to us?” God turns to them their own mental admission.

“If I am a Father.” “Although, before ye were born, I began to love you in Jacob as sons, yet choose by what title ye will name Me: I am either your Father or your Lord. If a Father, render me the honor due to a father, and offer the piety worthy of a parent. If a Lord, why despise ye Me? Why fear ye not your Lord?” God was their Father by creation, as He is Father of all, as Creator of all. He had come to be their Father in a nearer way, by temporal redemption and adoption as His special people, creating them to be a nation to His glory. This they were taught to confess in their psalmody Psalm 100:3, “He hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are His people and the sheep of His pasture.” This title God had given them in sight of the Egyptians Exodus 4:22, “Israel is My son, My firstborn:” of this Hosea reminded them; Hosea 11:1, “When Israel was a child, then I loved him, and called My son out of Egypt;” and Jeremiah reassured them Jeremiah 31:9, “I am a Father to Israel and Ephraim is My firstborn:” this, Isaiah had pleaded to God Isaiah 63:16, “Doubtless Thou art our Father, though Abraham be ignorant of us, and Israel acknowledge us not. Thou, O Lord, art our Father, our Redeemer, Thy name is from everlasting Isaiah 64:8. And now, O Lord, Thou art our Father; we the clay, and Thou our potter; and we all, the work of Thy hands.” God had impressed this His relation of Father, in Moses‘ prophetic warning; Deuteronomy 32:6, “Do ye thus requite the Lord, O foolish people and unwise? Is not He thy Father that hath bought thee? hath He not made thee and established thee?” “God is the Father of the faithful:

1) by creation;

2) by preservation and governance;

3) by alimony;

4) by fatherly care and providence;

5) by faith and grace, whereby He justifies and adopts us as sons and heirs of His kingdom.”

“If I am a Father.” He does not throw doubt, that He is our Father; but, by disobedience, we in deeds deny it. Our life denies what we in words profess. “Where is My honor?” “Why obey ye not My precepts, nor honor Me with acts of adoration; praying, praising, giving thanks, sacrificing, and reverently fulfilling every work of God? For Jeremiah 48:10. cursed is he that doeth the work of the Lord deceitfully.”

“And if I am your Lord, as I certainly am, and specially by singular providence.” “He is our Lord by the same titles, that He is our Father, and by others, as that He has redeemed us, and purchased us to Himself by the Blood of His Son; that He is the Supreme Majesty, whom all creation is bound to serve; that, setting before us the reward of eternal glory, He has hired us as servants and laborers into His vineyard.” God Alone is Lord through universal sovereignty, underived authority, and original source of laws, precepts, rights; and all other lords are but as ministers and instruments, compared to Him, the Lord and original Doer of all. Hence, He says Isaiah 42:8, “I am the Lord; that is My Name, and My glory will I not give to another.”

“Where is My fear?” which ought to be shown to Me. “If thou art a servant, render to the Lord the service of fear; if a son, show to thy Father the feeling of piety. But thou renderest not thanks, neither lovest nor fearest God. Thou art then either a contumacious servant or a proud son.” “Fear includes reverence, adoration, sacrifice, the whole worship of God.” “Whoso feareth is not over-curious, but adores; is not inquisitive, but praises, and glorifies.”

“Fear is twofold; servile, whereby punishment, not fault, is dreaded; filial, by which fault is feared. In like way service is twofold. A servant with a service of fear, purely servile, does not deserve to be called a son of God, nor is in a state of salvation, not having love. Whence Christ, distinguishing such a servant from a son of God by adoption, saith John 8:35, “The servant abideth not in the house forever, but the son abideth ever: and again John 15:15, The servant knoweth not what his Lord doeth.” But a servant, whose service is of pure and filial love, is also a son, of whom the Saviour saith, Matthew 25:21, Matthew 25:23, “Well done, good and faithful servant, enter thou into the joy of thy Lord.” But since a distinction is made here between the son and the servant, he seems to be speaking of servile fear, which, although it doth not good well and meritoriously, i. e., with a right intention and from love, yet withdraws from ill, and is the beginning of wisdom, because it disposeth to grace. Whence it is written (Proverbs 16:6, “By the fear of the Lord men depart from evil.”

“God requireth to be feared as a Lord, honored as a Father, loved as a Husband. Which is chiefest of these? Love. Without this, fear has torment, honor has no grace. Fear, when not enfreed by love, is servile. Honor, which cometh not from love, is not honor, but adulation. Honor and glory belong to God Alone; but neither of them will God accept, unless seasoned with the honey of love.”

“Saith the Lord unto you, O priests, who despise My Name,” literally “despisers of My Name,” habitually beyond others. The contempt of God came especially from those bound most to honor him. priests, as consecrated to God, belonged especially to God. “Malachi begins his prophecy and correction by the correction of the priests; because the reformation of the state and of the laity hangs upon the reformation of the clergy and the priest, for Hosea 4:9, “as is the priest, such also is the people?” He turns, with a suddenness which must have been startling to them, to them as the center of the offending.

“And ye say, Wherein have we despised Thy Name?” Before, it was ignorance of God‘s love: now it is ignorance of self and of sin. They affect to themselves innocence and are unconscious of any sin. They said to themselves doubtless (as many do now) “we cannot help it; we do the best we can, under the circumstances.” Without some knowledge of God‘s love, there can be no sense of sin; without some sense of sin, no knowledge of His love. They take the defensive, they are simply surprised, like Cain, Genesis 4:9, “Am I my brother‘s keeper?” or many of the lost in the day of judgment Matthew 7:22-23, “Many will say to Me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Thy Name? And in Thy Name have cast out devils? And in Thy Name done many wonderful works?” and yet were all the while “workers of iniquity,” to whom He will say, “I never knew you.” And Matthew 25:44, Matthew 25:46 says: “Lord, when saw we Thee an hungered, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto Thee?” And yet they “shall go away into everlasting punishment.”

Matthew Henry
Concise Bible Commentary
We may each charge upon ourselves what is here charged upon the priests. Our relation to God, as our Father and Master, strongly obliges us to fear and honour him. But they were so scornful that they derided reproof. Sinners ruin themselves by trying to baffle their convictions. Those who live in careless neglect of holy ordinances, who attend on them without reverence, and go from them under no concern, in effect say, The table of the Lord is contemptible. They despised God's name in what they did. It is evident that these understood not the meaning of the sacrifices, as shadowing forth the unblemished Lamb of God; they grudged the expense, thinking all thrown away which did not turn to their profit. If we worship God ignorantly, and without understanding, we bring the blind for sacrifice; if we do it carelessly, if we are cold, dull, and dead in it, we bring the sick; if we rest in the bodily exercise, and do not make heart-work of it, we bring the lame; and if we suffer vain thoughts and distractions to lodge within us, we bring the torn. And is not this evil? Is it not a great affront to God, and a great wrong and injury to our own souls? In order to the acceptance of our actions with God, it is not enough to do that which, for the matter of it, is good; but we must do it from a right principle, in a right manner, and for a right end. Our constant mercies from God, make worse our slothfulness and niggardliness, in our returns of duty to God. A spiritual worship shall be established. Incense shall be offered to God's name, which signifies prayer and praise. And it shall be a pure offering. When the hour came, in which the true worshippers worshipped the Father in Spirit and in truth, then this incense was offered, even this pure offering. We may rely on God's mercy for pardon as to the past, but not for indulgence to sin in future. If there be a willing mind, it will be accepted, though defective; but if any be a deceiver, devoting his best to Satan and to his lusts, he is under a curse. Men now, though in a different way, profane the name of the Lord, pollute his table, and show contempt for his worship.
Ellen G. White
Counsels on Diet and Foods, 164

[The Path of Self-Denial in Eating Is the Path to Health—473]

254. It is impossible for any to enjoy the blessing of sanctification while they are selfish and gluttonous. These groan under a burden of infirmities because of wrong habits of eating and drinking, which do violence to the laws of life and health. Many are enfeebling their digestive organs by indulging perverted appetite. The power of the human constitution to resist the abuses put upon it is wonderful; but persistent wrong habits in excessive eating and drinking will enfeeble every function of the body. Let these feeble ones consider what they might have been, had they lived temperately, and promoted health instead of abusing it. In the gratification of perverted appetite and passion, even professed Christians cripple nature in her work and lessen physical, mental, and moral power. Some who are doing this, claim to be sanctified to God; but such a claim is without foundation.... CD 164.1

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Ellen G. White
The Sanctified Life, 27

Again, the apostle writes to the believers, “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service” (Romans 12:1). Specific directions were given to ancient Israel that no defective or diseased animal should be presented as an offering to God. Only the most perfect were to be selected for this purpose. The Lord, through the prophet Malachi, most severely reproved His people for departing from these instructions. SL 27.1

“A son honoureth his father, and a servant his master: if then I be a father, where is mine honour? and if I be a master, where is my fear? saith the Lord of hosts unto you, O priests, that despise my name. And ye say, Wherein have we despised thy name? Ye offer polluted bread upon mine altar; and ye say, Wherein have we polluted thee? In that ye say, The table of the Lord is contemptible. And if ye offer the blind for sacrifice, is it not evil? and if ye offer the lame and sick, is it not evil? offer it now unto thy governor; will he be pleased with thee, or accept thy person? saith the Lord of hosts.... Ye brought that which was torn, and the lame, and the sick; thus ye brought an offering: should I accept this of your hand? saith the Lord” (Malachi 1:6-13). SL 27.2

Though addressed to ancient Israel, these words contain a lesson for the people of God today. When the apostle appeals to his brethren to present their bodies “a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God,” he sets forth the principles of true sanctification. It is not merely a theory, an emotion, or a form of words, but a living, active principle, entering into the everyday life. It requires that our habits of eating, drinking, and dressing be such as to secure the preservation of physical, mental, and moral health, that we may present to the Lord our bodies, not an offering corrupted by wrong habits, but “a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God.” SL 27.3

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