The book of Malachi is the final book of the Old Testament, and its message is a very relevant diagnostic told for assessing our spiritual health. As we journey through this little book over the next term, there is a lot to watch out for!
As biblical scholar A. E. Hill writes: ‘The prophet Malachi preached to a diverse audience. His sermons were directed to the disillusioned, the cynical, the callous, the dishonest, the apathetic, the doubting, the skeptical and the outright wicked in postexilic Judah. Yet, as a sensitive pastor, Malachi offered the ‘valentine’ of God’s love to a disheartened people. As a lofty theologian, he instructed the people in a basic doctrinal catechism, highlighting the nature of God as universal king, faithful suzerain and righteous judge. As Yahweh’s stern prophet, Malachi rebuked corrupt priests and warned of the coming day of God’s judgment. As spiritual guide, he exhorted his audience to a more sincere life of worship and challenged the people to live out the ethical standards of the Mosaic covenant. Most important, Malachi was Yahweh’s messenger and his essential message to Israel was profoundly simple: “‘I have always loved you,’ said the LORD” (Mal 1:2 NIV )’.
Malachi’s prophesy also sets the scene for the New Testament, pointing to the future coming of John the Baptist and Jesus; As God says in 3:1 ‘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’.