| || |The Berean Expositor
Volume 11 - Page 21 of 161 Index | Zoom | |
pp. 108 - 110
A curse is alternated with a blessing in Mal. 3: 9, 10:--
"Return unto Me, and I will return unto you, saith the Lord of Hosts, But ye said,
Wherein shall we return?" (verse 7).
The same cry is found in Zech. 1: 3. The return of the Lord to His people in blessing
hinges upon their return unto Him in repentance and obedience. The return enjoined is
not the external return from the captivity of Babylon, but the return in heart to the
forsaken covenant. Hence the words that preface the command to return are:--
"Even from the days of your fathers ye are gone away from mine ordinances, and have
not kept them."
Brazen and stiff-necked, the people reply, "Wherein shall we return?" This querulous
spirit is symptomatic.
"I have loved you, saith the Lord.
Yet ye say, WHEREIN hast thou loved us?" (1: 2).
"A son honoureth his father, and a servant his master: if then I be a father, where is
mine honour? 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?" (1: 6).
"Ye offer polluted bread upon mine altar:
And ye say, WHEREIN have we polluted Thee?" (1: 7).
"Ye have wearied the Lord with your words.
Yet ye say, WHEREIN have we wearied Him?" (2: 17).
"Return unto Me, and I will return unto you, saith the Lord of Hosts.
But ye said, WHEREIN shall we return" (3: 7).
"Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed Me.
But ye say, WHEREIN have we robbed Thee?" (3: 8).
"Your words have been stout against Me, saith the Lord.
Yet ye say, WHAT have we spoken so much against Thee?" (3: 13).
It would be well to consider the reply of the Lord to these questions, which the reader
can do for himself. We come back to the passage with which we started.
The people's defection is gauged by their attitude toward God, they had robbed God
by withholding the "tithes and offerings". The ninth verse reads in the A.V. "Ye are
cursed with a curse". The Sopherim say that they altered the letter M into N (Hebrew),
thus making it passive instead of active (see Companion Bible). The primitive text reads,
"Ye have cursed Me with a curse"; the alteration was made to avoid a supposed
irreverence. Disobedience and self-seeking rob God and, awful thought, curse Him! The
alternative is comforting--How may we bless God? by obedience and loving service.
The word rendered Wherein is literally "in what". God's answer to all their questions
seems contained in the word, "herewith", literally "in this".