Malachi 4:1-6 – Judgment Day

Read Malachi 4:1-6

This is the last chapter of the Old Testament. That fact alone gives me goosebumps as I write this reflection. There will be a huge gap of time (400 years or so) between this writing and the New Testament. The people would have to wait a long time to see some of these prophecies fulfilled.

This prophecy would have given the faithful hope for the future. Like today, there were those obedient to God and his decrees in Malachi’s day. The unfaithful probably turned the other way and ignored Malachi altogether, in denial of their coming peril. People still refuse to listen to God’s word. This prophecy is no exception.

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Malachi 3:6-15 – Test God

Read Malachi 3:6-15

God welcomes us to test him. He means business in this call to repentance! In this prophecy, God reveals his character as a good father. He says, “I do not change.” Why does that make God good? Because when something doesn’t change, it’s reliable. We can always count on God. He always loves us. That’s very good!

Unfortunately, the people have taken advantage of God and cheated him. They have robbed God of the wholehearted devotion he deserves. Their response to God (in those days it was sacrifices) was less than desirable. Not only did they try and sacrifice damaged goods, but the potential of what they could share with God was reduced because of their greed while seeking the wrong thing.

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Malachi 3:1-5 – Judgment Day is Coming

Read Malachi 3:1-5

This is often a text used during Advent in churches following the lectionary who prepare for Jesus’ coming around Christmas. As I read this, I pictured John the Baptist preparing the way for Jesus’ ministry. People hearing Malachi’s message would surely imagine Jesus in a different way.

The people first hearing Malachi’s words were far from faithful. They had started to believe that God didn’t care about them anymore. Their sin was total indifference to God, ignoring the covenant relationship that had existed for generations. The intimate relationship God craves with his children was non-existent in those days. Do we see that kind of intimacy today?

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Malachi 2:10-17 – Disrespect

Read Malachi 2:10-17

We can be thankful that God won’t leave us stuck in our sin. These verses can convict us to want to follow God faithfully, in contrast to those unfaithful Israelites who ignored God and then wondered why they weren’t being blessed. Nobody is being singled out here. As Malachi says, “Are we not all children of the same Father? Are we not all created by the same God?”

The examples Malachi gives here point directly to the Israelites and how they disrespected God, living life on “their own” terms. The Israelites had been set apart by God to be his chosen ones. God had hoped they would live their lives as good examples for the rest of the world. Unfortunately, that was not the case. The Israelites were in a pattern of disappointing God time and time again.

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Malachi 2:1-9 – Shortcuts * Part Two

Read Malachi 2:1-9

Our last reading exposed the priests who were taking shortcuts and not honoring God in their sacrificial practices. Perhaps other areas of ministry were also suffering, but the prophecy was concerned with “shortcut” sacrifices that dishonored God.

We realize we, too, often fall short of giving God the priority he deserves. Today’s reading speaks to what happens when we do that. Malachi warns the priests that God will curse them for not following God’s ways and ignoring his instructions.

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