A Messenger, A Warning, An Encouragement

God sent a messenger with a warning and an encouragement to the people of Israel.  That warning and encouragement is in Malachi, the last book in the Old Testament.  We do not know who the prophet was that brought this message to Israel.  The word Malachi means messenger.  Most Biblical scholars agree Malachi was written in the Fifth Century B.C.

The message in Malachi is very interesting to me.  The words are very applicable today. The messenger warned the people about the corruption and complacency that had set in.  The men were divorcing their wives and marrying foreign women.  God says to dishonor the marriage agreement is to dishonor Him.  That message certainly applies today.

The message in Malachi is really about our attitude.  The Levitical priests certainly knew what to do to serve God but felt is was tiresome or difficult.  They felt is was not worth the effort.  The priests were guilty of disobedience in the Temple as they allowed the people to bring blemished sacrifices even though they were well trained in what was required by God.  God states in Malachi 1:11 that pure offering will be presented in His name in every place because His name will be great among the nations.  In Malachi 1:13 we read the priests are allowing stolen, lame and sick animals as an offering in the Temple.  Baby Lambs

The priest and the people were showing up with their sacrifices but there were frowns on their faces and resentment in their hearts.  In Malachi 1:10 God declares He would rather someone shut the temple doors to prevent a useless fire on His altar.  Shut the doors rather than allow insincere worship and offerings?  I think that is pretty serious.

What do you think God feels about the way we show up for worship today?  We arrive but what is our attitude?    Do we have frowns on our faces?  Sometimes we might barely stay awake.  We tell the pastor what a good message but the next day can not tell anyone the message or scripture.  We show up but it does not impact our lives in any way.  Watches are checked wondering when it will be over.  The restaurant meal is waiting you know.

Malachi is a rebuke for the priests and the people of Israel.  It is also a rebuke for us. But it is also a promise for the priests and people in Malachi’s day.  In Malachi 3:7 God promises He will return to them if they return to Him.   God also offered encouragement and reminded them of the Messiah to come.  Today, He is reminding us that the Messiah has come and offers the same promise that He will return to us if we return to Him.

After Malachi, God is quiet for four hundred years.  After four hundred years the New Testament begins with Matthew.  Four hundred years to create the perfect time for Christ to come to Earth as a babe in a manger, to walk among men for 33 years and be brutally crucified as the Perfect Sacrifice for you and me.

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