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Malachi 3:6

ESV “For I the LORD do not change; therefore you, O children of Jacob, are not consumed.
NIV I the LORD do not change. So you, the descendants of Jacob, are not destroyed.
NASB For I, the Lord, do not change; therefore you, the sons of Jacob, have not come to an end.
CSB "Because I, the Lord, have not changed, you descendants of Jacob have not been destroyed.
NLT I am the Lord, and I do not change. That is why you descendants of Jacob are not already destroyed.
KJV For I am the LORD, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed.

What does Malachi 3:6 mean?

This verse is often cited as proof that God is unchanging and constant. This is a valid point to take from this part of Scripture. At the same time, there is an additional idea being put forward here. The key concept in this verse is the word "therefore." This links the two points being made in the proper order.

Malachi began with a reminder that God's judgment can result in the destruction of an entire nation (Malachi 1:1–4). Edom sinned, and was eventually obliterated. Israel, on the other hand, has been preserved by God. At one time, Israel honored God the way He intended them to (Malachi 2:4–5). In Malachi's day, the people had moved away from God, to improper sacrifices (Malachi 1:7–8), divorce (Malachi 2:14), and paganism (Malachi 2:11). What this verse points out, in clear terms, is that Israel's survival is not because of their own merit. Quite the opposite—they deserve severe punishment (Numbers 18:32). The one and only reason they have not been annihilated is because God does not change, and so His promises are secure.

This would have been quite a sobering message for the people of Malachi's day. They have "wearied" God with their sin (Malachi 2:17). God is not saying, "you have survived because you deserve mercy," or even "because I love you, you remain." Malachi is specifically saying that Israel owes its survival entirely to the faithfulness of God. In other words, it is only His unchanging and perfect promises which have kept Israel from suffering the same fate as Edom.
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