Intro to Malachi
For from the rising of the sun to its setting my name will be great among the nations, and in every place incense will be offered to my name, and a pure offering. For my name will be great among the nations, says the LORD of hosts.
If you have never seen the show The Office, this reference might be lost on you. But just like Dwight Schrute’s promotion to Office Manager and marriage to Angela (anyone know what her last name was) was the perfect ending to The Office, Malachi is a very fitting close to the Old Testament Scriptures. It not only directs worshippers towards living a life of holiness, but also builds the expectation in the readers of a future messenger who will “prepare the way” before the Lord (3:1). Malachi helps to sort of close out the Old Testament while at the same time transitioning and building an expectation for us in the New Testament. Apart from his name, we know very little about Malachi; this seems to hone our focus in on the message that God is delivering through Him as opposed to the man himself. The outline for this prophetic book is not surprising since it follows the same three-fold structure we have seen in all of the other prophetic writings of indictment, judgment, and future hope. However, the style that Malachi is written in is very unique as it is almost a prophetic disputation between God and the people.
For example, God speaks in verse 2 saying that He loves them, and the response of the people is, but how? In verse 6, the Lord tells them that they have despised His name and again the response is, how? In verse 7, he indicts them for having polluted the altar. And the response is the same as before, how? In all of the indictments we see this back and forth exchange occurring throughout the book (1:12-13; 2:14,17;3:7,8,13-15) which reveals to us that these people are very religious, but their religiosity is not pleasing to the Lord. Why? Simply put, their hearts are far from God, they were mistreating one another, and they were withholding the tithe from the temple. You could say that they were worse than the Pharisees in Jesus' day since they not only were inwardly dead, but outwardly they were rebellious against God’s commands. The judgment that God pronounces on them are curses to be fulfilled at the coming day of the Lord. And after this message of judgment, there is a hopeful for those who fear the Lord (3:16).
Despite their wickedness, God still reaffirmed His love for them (1:2) and promises a coming messenger who will prepare the way for the Lord’s coming. At the fulfillment of this promise God's people will be able to offer up offerings that will be pleasing to God because it will be given through the blood of Jesus Christ. As we wait for the coming of our Lord a second time, let us not be guilty of the sin of the false worshippers in Malachi’s time. May we be those who fear the Lord and worship Him in spirit and in truth.
Grace and Peace,
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