Malachi 2:17-3:5: Theodicy
Sin creates reversals. Marriage as a relationship where we are to serve each other gets distorted into a relationship where we serve ourselves. God’s gifts in creation which are given to us that we might serve Him with them, get turned into gods that we serve as idols. The anger we are given to reflect God’s own passionate hatred of sin gets weaponized and turned against those we love. Another reversal exists in the text before us, the guilty accused make accusations of injustice against the holy Judge. In other words what we have before us is a typical problem of sinners accusing God of injustice because they are suffering.
You will remember that Malachi is a Post-exilic prophet. The people of Israel were rightly exiled because of their sins, they spent 70 years in exile and God graciously restored them to the land though He had every right to wipe them out. Upon returning to the land they began to rebuild but many of the old sins began to reassert themselves. We see corruption in the priesthood, apathy in worship, and sin prospering in society. As a result the people of God who were hoping for better days, for God’s blessings, for more food and prosperity, but they were not seeing it. Malachi 2:17-3:6 is the fourth dispute between God and the people, here God exposes this accusation and makes His response. We will look at this section under two headings, the accusation and the answer.