Tucked in the very back of the Old Testament is the Book of Malachi. There aren’t a lot of verses from this book on fridge magnets, sweatshirts or coffee mugs. But because of 2 Timothy, we know that “all Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right.” So let’s dig into this lesser known book of the Bible and find some usefulness!
Malachi means “messengers.” So, what is the message?
Warning! Warning! Warning!
God is giving His people a warning. They have gotten kinda lax about their faith. And He wants them to become faithful again. Sound like anyone you know?
Specifically, the Israelites are called out for half-hearted sacrifices, for improper marriages, and for not tithing. Most of all, God calls them out for their attitudes. But that’s not how God leaves it.
He also delivers some promises. He tells us that He will punish those who have done wrong.
And He gives a hint to something big that is coming:
“Look! I am sending my messenger, and he will prepare the way before me. Then the Lord you are seeking will suddenly come to his Temple.”
That messenger is who we hear about just three chapters later in Matthew 3: John the Baptist.
Not only is Malachi physically the last book in the Old Testament, but it’s the last book chronologically in the Old Testament. That means after this book there is nothing from God…for 400 years. When you realize these are the last words of God for quite awhile, they suddenly seem more important, don’t they?
So, what can we take from the Book of Malachi and make useful in our lives today?
There is perspective. God’s view is way different than our view and this book gives us a glance of how He sees things. The Jews had become careless in their attitude towards God. Have you? If so, stop. Become faithful in reading, praying, giving, serving and fellowship. There are a lot of things you can let go by the wayside—your relationship with God isn’t one of them.
The Book of Malachi also gives us prophecy. There is some sense of urgency. Chapter 4 begins with “For, behold, the day cometh.” I wonder what the people thought. Did they think they would see God’s judgement in their lifetime? They certainly didn’t expect silence from God for 400 years.
It’s like that now. There are so many indications of the End Times. And there are times when it certainly seems near.
But God is pretty clear that “However, no one knows the day or hour when these things will happen, not even the angels in heaven or the Son himself. Only the Father knows.” God will bring his judgement in His time—no sooner and no later.
This tiny book also gives us a promise. Yes, there is the reference to John the Baptist, and ultimately, Jesus Christ, but in Malachi 1:11, we read this, “For from the rising of the sun even unto the going down of the same my name shall be great among the Gentiles.” God will be known throughout the earth. And we’re not quite there yet. So maybe this is a charge too—who can you share your faith with today?
Insight into God’s heart
One more thing—the Book of Malachi gives us insight into God’s heart. Why all these warnings? Because the actions of the Jews were keeping them from experiencing true fellowship with God. He isn’t interested in our rituals and our actions as much as our intentions. When we have God-honoring intentions and we are truly in fellowship with Him, our actions will follow.
So, where do you stand with God?
Are you going through the motions? Or are you in true fellowship?
Sunday Afternoon Host, STAR 99.1
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