Remember the teachings of Moses (Mal 4:4-4:4)

“Remember

The teachings

Of my servant Moses!

Remember

The statutes,

The ordinances,

That I commanded him,

At Horeb

For all Israel!”

The Israelites were to remember the teachings of Yahweh’s servant, the law of Moses.  They were to remember all his statutes and ordinances, because Yahweh had commanded him to do so at Mount Horeb or Mount Sinai.  These commandments were for all the people of Israel.

The need to return to Yahweh (Mal 3:7-3:7)

“‘Ever since the days of your ancestors,

You have turned aside

From my statutes.

You have not kept them.

Return to me!

Then I will return to you.’

Says Yahweh of hosts.

But you say.

‘How shall we return?’”

Yahweh, via Malachi, told the Israelites that they were like their ancestors, since they had not kept his statutes.  They needed to return to Yahweh.  However, they responded that they did not know how to return to Yahweh.

The new heart and a new spirit (Ezek 36:26-36:27)

“I will give you

A new heart.

I will put within you,

A new spirit.

I will remove

From your body

The heart of stone.

I will give you

A heart of flesh.

I will put

My Spirit

Within you.

I will make you

Follow

My statutes.

You will be careful

To observe

My ordinances.”

Yahweh was going to help the returning Israelites, by giving them a new heart and a new spirit. He was going to remove their old hearts of stone and replace it with a heart of flesh. Yahweh was going to infuse them with his Holy Spirit. Thus, they would follow his statutes and observe carefully all his ordinances.

The reaction of Yahweh to the rebellious children (Ezek 20:21-20:24)

“Then I thought

I would pour out

My wrath upon them.

I would spend

My anger

Against them

In the wilderness.

But I withheld

My hand.

I acted for the sake

Of my name.

Thus it should not be

Profaned

In the sight

Of the nations,

In whose sight

I had brought them out.

Moreover,

I swore to them

In the wilderness

That I would scatter them

Among the nations.

I would disperse them

Through the countries.

Because they had not

Executed

My ordinances.

They had rejected

My statutes.

They had profaned

My Sabbath.

Their eyes

Were set

On their ancestor’s idols.”

Yahweh’s reaction was pretty much the same as in the former rebellions. Yahweh immediately thought about destroying them in his anger. However, as earlier, he changed his mind for the sake of his name that he did not want profaned in the sight of all the other countries that had seen him bring them out of Egypt. Thus he swore to them in the wilderness that he would scatter them among the nations, instead of refusing to take them out of Egypt or refusing to take them to the Promise Land. This was a prediction of the exile that was due to their failure to keep his statutes, ordinances, and the Sabbath. They also still yearned for their ancestor’s idols.

Yahweh is your God (Ezek 20:19-20:20)

“I,

Yahweh,

Am your God!

Follow my statutes!

Be careful

To observe my ordinances!

Hallow my Sabbath!

Thus it may be

A sign

Between me

And you.

Thus you may know

That I,

Yahweh,

Am your God!”

Here there is no doubt as Ezekiel has Yahweh begin and end with this phrase that he, Yahweh, is their God. Therefore they have to follow his statutes, his observances, and keep his Sabbath. The Sabbath has become the sign between Yahweh and his people.

No promise land (Ezek 20:15-20:16)

“Moreover

I swore to them

In the wilderness

That I would not

Bring them

Into the land

That I had given them.

That is a land flowing

With milk and honey,

The most glorious of all lands.

Because they rejected

My ordinances.

They did observe

My statutes.

They profaned

My Sabbath.

Their heart went

After their idols.”

Yahweh swore to them in the wilderness that he was not going to bring them into the land that he had given them, that land flowing with milk and honey, the most glorious of all lands. They had rejected his ordinances. They did not observe his statutes. They profaned the Sabbath. Their hearts went after their former idols. Things did not look good for these wilderness wanderers.

The forgotten crimes of the Judeans (Jer 44:9-44:10)

“Have you forgotten

The crimes

Of your ancestors,

Of the kings of Judah?

Have you forgotten

The crimes of their wives,

Your own crimes,

The crimes of your wives?

They committed them

In the land of Judah,

In the streets of Jerusalem.

They have shown

No contrition,

No fear,

Even to this day.

They have not walked

In my law,

In my statutes

That I set before you,

Before your ancestors.”

Yahweh, via Jeremiah, wanted to know if they had amnesia. They seem to have forgotten the crimes of their ancestors, the kings of Judah. They have forgotten the crimes of the royal wives, their own crimes, and those of their wives that were committed in Judah and on the streets of Jerusalem. They have never shown any kind of contrition for their transgressions. They have not feared Yahweh, since they do not walk in his law or his statutes that were given to their ancestors.