Challenges and Warnings
Malachi (which means my
written : Somewhere about
433BC (probably the last of the minor prophets)
Malachi addresses the doubts of the people
of God's love (1:2-5), and the faithlessness of both priests and people
and also replies to their charge that God is unjust, because he has
failed to come in judgment and exalt his people.
Malachi answers with an announcement and
a warning. The Lord they seek will come "like a refiner's fire"
and He will come to judge but He will judge his people first.
Malachi reassures and warns his readers
that "that great and dreadful day of the LORD, is coming"
Introduction: God's Covenant Love for Israel Affirmed
Israel 's Unfaithfulness Rebuked
The Lord's Coming Announced
The Lord Will Come to Purify the Priests and Judge the People
A Call to Repentance in View of the Lord's Coming
The Day of the Lord Announced
oracle: The word of the LORD to Israel through Malachi
Lord gives answers to the questions of the people
you ask, `How have you loved us?'
.. "But you ask, `How have we
shown contempt for your name?'
"But you ask, `How have we defiled
Lord confronts them with their failures
I am a master, where is the respect due me?" says the LORD Almighty.
"It is you, O priests, who show contempt for my name
defiled food on my altar
When you bring blind animals for sacrifice,
is that not wrong?
.. Oh, that one of you would shut the temple doors,
so that you would not light useless fires on my altar!
When you bring
injured, crippled or diseased animals and offer them as sacrifices,
should I accept them from your hands?"
priests have let the Lord down by failing in their role
will know that I have sent you this admonition so that my covenant with
Levi may continue," says the LORD Almighty. "My covenant was
with him, a covenant of life and peace, and I gave them to him; this
called for reverence and he revered me and stood in awe of my name.
True instruction was in his mouth and nothing false was found on his
lips. He walked with me in peace and uprightness, and turned many from
sin. "For the lips of a priest ought to preserve knowledge, and
from his mouth men should seek instruction--because he is the messenger
of the LORD Almighty. But you have turned from the way and by your teaching
have caused many to stumble; you have violated the covenant with Levi,"
says the LORD Almighty. "So I have caused you to be despised and
humiliated before all the people, because you have not followed my ways
but have shown partiality in matters of the law."
of John the Baptist
I will send my messenger, who will prepare the way before me. Then suddenly
the Lord you are seeking will come to his temple; the messenger of the
covenant, whom you desire, will come," says the LORD Almighty.
& answer logic and challenge to faith
Declaration & Challenge:
since the time of your forefathers you have turned away from my decrees
and have not kept them. Return to me, and I will return to you,"
says the LORD Almighty.
you rob me. (implication: stop
In tithes and offerings. You are under
a curse--the whole nation of you--because you are robbing me.
Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse,
that there may be food in my house. Test me in this," says the
LORD Almighty, "and see if I will not throw open the floodgates
of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room
enough for it.
will come a time of separating out: discipline & blessing
4:3 . "They
will be mine," says the LORD Almighty, "in the day when
I make up my treasured possession.
will spare them, just as in compassion a man spares his son who serves
And you will again
see the distinction between the righteous and the wicked, between those
who serve God and those who do not.
day is coming; it will burn like a furnace. All the arrogant and every
evildoer will be stubble, and that day that is coming will set them
on fire," says the LORD Almighty. "Not a root or a branch
will be left to them.
But for you who
revere my name, the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its
wings. And you will go out and leap like calves released from the stall.
Then you will trample down the wicked; they will be ashes under the
soles of your feet on the day when I do these things," says the
Law & the prophets will together prepare Gods people to receive
the law of my servant Moses, the decrees and laws I gave him at Horeb
for all Israel. "See, I will send you the prophet Elijah before
that great and dreadful day of the LORD comes.
Malachi is a short and simple book.
Much of it is taken up with imaginary
questions and answers between the Lord and His people as He faces them
with their shortcomings.
In the light of the fact that this comes
to the restored people who have returned after the Exile, it is tragic
that still sin reveals itself so obviously in the so-called people of
God. From beginning to end, the Old Testament reveals the Fall of mankind
and its ongoing effects. To bring change to this, something very different
must happen. There are little glimmers here in this book that the Lord
is yet going to come and bring that change.
These will be the last words from heaven
for some four hundred years before the new Elijah appears (John the
Baptist) and starts to prepare the way to receive the coming Son who
ushers in the new kingdom. The old covenant, a material kingdom, may
appear to have failed because sin still causes the downfall of God's
people, but God has been revealed through it throughout. The new spiritual
kingdom will come and will spread throughout the earth, transforming
people as it goes. We'll just have to wait a little over four hundred
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