Malachi 1:4
Though Edom may say, "We have been devastated, but we will rebuild the ruins," this is what the LORD of Hosts says: "They may build, but I will demolish. They will be called the Land of Wickedness, and a people toward whom the LORD is indignant forever.
Foolish BuildersW. Osborne Lilley.Malachi 1:4
The Sovereignty of God in Relation to Man's Secular Condition of LifeD. Thomas Malachi 1:1-5
Divine Judgments by DisappointmentsR. Tuck Malachi 1:4, 5
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.

They shall build, but I will throw down.
To separate our lives from God is folly; to live in opposition to Him is madness. Many not only disregard Him, but also oppose Him.


1. Those who seek to build up a reputation with deceits.

2. Those who build up the fortunes of their houses with unrighteousness.

3. Those who build up a religious life without faith in Christ, the only foundation.

4. Those who build up their characters with evil principles and deeds.

5. Those who build up high positions by treachery and tyranny.

II. CONSIDER THE CERTAINTY OF THEIR OVERTHROW. Woe be to the work that has God against it. It cannot stand. Think of His power, knowledge, and absolute control of all things. Everything that He does not smile upon must perish. History confirms this. Kingdoms created with great magnificence and might, but built in defiance of His laws, have, like Edom, fallen. Theological systems, and ecclesiastical despotisms that have been built up in opposition to Him, have been overthrown. Biography also confirms this. No life that has been spent in opposition to Him, however apparently influential, but has crumbled away like a falling tower. When God says, "I will throw down," none can save. Experience also confirms it. Learn not to lay a stone in life without God. We should enter upon no work without first securing His aid and blessing. We can only erect a structure that will stand for ever, as we build in God's way, and under the influence of the Spirit of Jesus.

(W. Osborne Lilley.)

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