A son honors his father, and a servant his master: if then I be a father, where is my honor? and if I be a master, where is my fear?
says the LORD of hosts unto you,
O priests, that despise my name. And you say, How have we despised your name?
All Commentaries on Malachi 1:6 Go To Malachi 1
Augustine of Hippo
We must consider what it is that we have been commanded to pray for—commanded by him from whom we learn to pray for and through whom we obtain what we pray for. He says, “In this manner shall you pray: ‘Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.’?” In every kind of petition we ought first to try to gain the good will of the one we are petitioning. And the praise is usually placed at the beginning of the prayer, where in this instance our Lord has bidden us to say nothing else than “our Father who art in heaven.” Praise of God has been expressed in many manners of speech. Anyone can see this as he reads those forms of praise scattered widely here and there throughout the sacred Scriptures. But nowhere is there found any instruction for the people of Israel to say “our Father” or to pray to God as a Father. To them he has been proposed as a master, for they were servants; that is, they were as yet living according to the flesh. When I say this, I am referring to them when they received the commandments of the law which they were ordered to observe, for the prophets frequently point out that this same Lord of ours would have been their father as well, if they did not stray from his commandments. For instance, there are the following expressions: “I have begotten children and exalted them, but they have despised me,” and, “I have said, ‘You are gods and all of you the sons of the most high,’ ” and, “If I am a master, where is my fear? And if I am a father, where is my honor?” Even if we were to disregard those prophetic sayings that refer to the fact that there would be a Christian people who would have God as their Father—in accordance with that saying in the Gospel, “He gave them the power of becoming children of God”—there are still many other expressions whereby the Jews are reproved for the fact that by committing sins they refused to be children. The apostle Paul says, “As long as the heir is a little child, he differs in no way from a slave,” but he reminds us that we have received the spirit of adoption, by virtue of which we cry, “Abba, Father.” .