Malachi 1:4, 5
Whereas Edom said, We are impoverished, but we will return and build the desolate places; thus said the LORD of hosts, They shall build…
The Lord's dealings with Edom are here introduced as contrasting with the Lord's dealings with Israel. And one chief point of contrast is this - Israel's expectations will be realized; but Edom's expectations will be disappointed. "Thus saith the Lord of hosts. They shall build, but I will throw down." There was an exceedingly bitter feeling between Israel and Edom, dating from the time when Edom insultingly refused to allow the passage of Israel through her territory, and so compelled God's people to take the weary and perilous way up the Arabah. Again and again we have hints of the unfriendly feeling between the kindred and neighbour nations; and that it was continued up to the time of the destruction of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar is indicated by the exclamation of the poet, in Psalm 137:7, "Remember, O Lord, the children of Edom in the day of Jerusalem; who said, Rase it, rase it, even to the foundation thereof." That Jehovah, as God and King of Israel, took its part against Edom is clearly intimated in the prophecy of Obadiah. The point of the passage before us is that on the efforts of Edom to recover itself as a nation no permanency would rest; whereas if Israel would but be faithful to its obligations, it as a kingdom should be established forever.
I. FAILURE IN LIFE'S ENTERPRISES IS A SIGN OF DIVINE DEALING WITH US. However we may say that such failure attends
(1) particular dispositions; or
(2) imperfect, training and culture, it remains true that a deeper explanation is possible.
The promise to the good is, "Whatsoever he doeth shall prosper." The judgment on the evil may be, "Whatsoever he doeth shall fail." There is no experience of life more trying than the disappointment of failing again and again. There is no misery like the hopelessness of feeling as if we could not succeed, and it is no use to try any more. The man is lost who feels that.
II. FAILURE IN LIFE'S ENTERPRISES MAY BE DIVINE DISCIPLINE, BUT IT MAY BE DIVINE JUDGMENT. Chastisement, to convince that we have done the thing wrongly. Judgment, as in the case of Edom, of some sin committed in early life, the spirit of which we have kept up through the long years. If we fail in life, we should searchingly inquire why God lets us fail. - R.T.
Parallel VersesKJV: Whereas Edom saith, We are impoverished, but we will return and build the desolate places; thus saith the LORD of hosts, They shall build, but I will throw down; and they shall call them, The border of wickedness, and, The people against whom the LORD hath indignation for ever.
WEB: Whereas Edom says, "We are beaten down, but we will return and build the waste places;" thus says Yahweh of Armies, "They shall build, but I will throw down; and men will call them 'The Wicked Land,' even the people against whom Yahweh shows wrath forever."