Malachi 2:17
You have wearied the LORD with your words; yet you ask, "How have we wearied Him?" By saying, "All who do evil are good in the sight of the LORD, and in them He delights," or, "Where is the God of justice?"
Sermons
A Startling QuestionW. Osborne Lilley.Malachi 2:17
God is a God of JudgmentThos. Fuller.Malachi 2:17
The Sin of Confusing Moral DistinctionsR. Tuck Malachi 2:17
The Words of ScepticismD. Thomas Malachi 2:17
The Minister of Divine TruthHomilistMalachi 2:4-17
Ye say, Every one that doeth evil is good in the sight of the Lord, and he delighteth in them. Isaiah pleads in a similar way," Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!" (Isaiah 5:20). It seems that some, in the days of Malachi, answered his pleadings with insolent defiance, even daring to deny moral obligations altogether.

I. CALLING EVIL GOOD IS THE WAY TO EXCUSE OUR SINS. Daring men who are determined to "follow the devices and desires of their own hearts," will bravely say, "Evil, be thou my good." But the process of deterioration is usually slower and more subtle. We want to do wrong, and we begin to wish that it were not wrong. Then comes the doubt whether it is wrong. Then we begin to imagine that it is wrong only under particular circumstances. Then we find that our case does not come into the bad list. And the way is open to do the wrong under the shadow of our self-delusion that it really is good. There are family delusions that lead us to call evil good; society delusions; sectarian delusions; and personal delusions. These last are the most serious. A man can easily persuade himself that the pleasant is the right; and he may only mean the pleasant to the body. The pleasant to the soul, the pleasant because of God's benediction, helps to truer judgments.

II. CALLING GOOD EVIL IS THE WAY TO RUIN OUR SOULS. There is no hope for a man when he loses his sensitiveness to good, for with it goes his sensitiveness to God. A man is never lost while he can believe in goodness. There is anchorage in that. He is indeed driven with the wind and tossed hopelessly on the sea of life, if he ever comes to say, "All is evil;" "All is vanity and vexation of spirit;" "All men are liars;" "There is no good: there is neither good nor God." There is good, for there is God. He is God, and much that his creatures do bears the stamp of his goodness. Evil and good are contraries. Hope for humanity lies in their never getting confused. - R.T.







Where is the God of judgment?
Times of abounding wickedness have been times of unbelief. Evil hinders the manifestation of God in the world. His laws seem to have no executive force; His righteousness is obscured; His very existence is questioned. see text. This question may be asked —

1. By the righteous in their distress.

2. By the wicked in their fancied security.

3. By the sceptic in his reluctant doubting.

4. This question will be answered by God —

(1)To the joy of the righteous;

(2)to the confusion of the wicked;

(3)to the satisfaction of the honest doubter;

(4)to the full vindication of the Divine justice.Faith is needed. The laws of God execute themselves most vividly in the invisible regions of the soul. Men look for God in the destructive hurricane rather than in the stings of conscience; in terrible thunderings rather than in the still small voice. Mercy, too, causes judgment to linger, but in the end every one will receive his sentence according to his deeds.

(W. Osborne Lilley.)

There was lately a judge in England, whom I need not be afraid to name as the honour of his robe and profession, namely, Judge Doddridge, whom they commonly called "the sleeping judge." Indeed, he had an affected drowsy posture on the Bench, inasmuch that many persons unacquainted with his custom, and having cases of concernment to be tried before him, have even given up all for lost, expecting no justice from a dormant judge; when he all the while did only retire himself within himself, the more seriously to consult with his own soul about the validity of what was alleged and proved unto him, as appeared afterwards by those oracles of law which he pronounced. Wicked men, in like manner, erroneously suppose God to be a sleeping God,... but in due time He will assuredly confute their mistake.

(Thos. Fuller.)

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