And I will come near to you to judgment; and I will be a swift witness against the sorcerers, and against the adulterers…
It is important to see that God both considers and deals with society sins as well as individual sins. Not sufficiently is it pressed on attention, that he deals with the evils which are characteristic of aggregates of men - with sins of classes and of nations. It is in the necessary judgment of classes and nations as such that the innocent are wont to suffer with the guilty; and then the interest of the class must be seen to override the interests of the single individual. Society sins are much the same in every age. They are classed in this verse. They run riot when the religious restraint is weakened.
1. Religious deceptions.
2. Immoralities specially bearing on family life.
3. Untrustfulness in everyday relations. "False swearers."
4. Sweating the workman, and forcing down the wage of the labourer.
5. Taking advantage of the distressed to secure selfish advantage; the "widow, fatherless, and stranger."
How these sins corrupt society today may be unfolded according to the skill of the preacher. The prophets teach that whenever God manifests himself, he puts forth his power against society sins, and Malachi declares this to be one of the most marked characteristics of Messiah.
I. MESSIAH CUTS DOWN SOCIETY SINS AS BEING FALSE GROWTHS. The farmer will go into his meadows and cut down the coarse grass, which the cattle would not eat, and whose rank growth is crushing out the useful white clover. When a field is left uncultivated, and the good plants are left unnourished, there soon springs up a plentiful crop of weeds, groundsel, rag wort, and thistles, and if there is to be any reviving of profitable vegetation in that field, these rank growths must be cut down. Illustrate from our Lord's dealing with the society sentiment concerning rabbinism. With some society sins the same must be done now.
II. MESSIAH SEEKS TO CLEAR THE ROOTS OF SOCIETY SINS OUT OF THE SOIL. Cutting off is only a preliminary to rooting out. Presently the farmer ploughs up and harrows the soil, carefully gathering the roots for the burning. Malachi, in God's name, tried to get at the roots of the society evils of his day. He found them in the self-indulgence of the priesthood, and the self-seeking of the people. He prophesied that Messiah' would do the same work.
III. MESSIAH ENRICHES THE SOIL TO BEAR GOOD GROWTHS. We should never see Christ's work only on the negative side. It has two sides. To remove society sins is to give a chance for the nourishment of Christly-toned society virtues. - R.T.
Parallel VersesKJV: And I will come near to you to judgment; and I will be a swift witness against the sorcerers, and against the adulterers, and against false swearers, and against those that oppress the hireling in his wages, the widow, and the fatherless, and that turn aside the stranger from his right, and fear not me, saith the LORD of hosts.
WEB: I will come near to you to judgment; and I will be a swift witness against the sorcerers, and against the adulterers, and against the perjurers, and against those who oppress the hireling in his wages, the widow, and the fatherless, and who deprive the foreigner of justice, and don't fear me," says Yahweh of Armies.