Prophet Malachi

Jesus appears on the scene four to five hundred years after the last acknowledged prophet, Malachi.  Malachi is the last book in the Christian Old Testament.  Four hundred years is like us looking back to Martin Luther or Charles Wesley for a word from God without the benefit of a stable Bible to help us evaluate truth.  Malachi means “messenger” and may not have been his proper name but we know that at this time the Jews had returned from captivity, the temple had been rebuilt and lethargy had set in.  The people were not experiencing the blessings they expected from “God.”  I think we can identify with that kind of discouragement.  Life is not fair.  The benefits of being American are not available to all.  We demonstrate and demand justice and equality.  We can imagine the scene Malachi is called to speak into.

         Malachi has six sections.  The first three start with a question presenting the problem:  blindness to how has God loved ,them blindness to how have the priests failed to honor God, and blindness to how they as God’s people have failed him.  The last three sections focuses on how God is going to intervene and restore the covenant – the call to repentance.  Justice is explained, repentance is called for and the results of serving God explained.  It is a short book that might be worth reading.  Malachi ends, chapter 4: 5-6, “See I will send you the prophet Elijah before that great and dreadful day of the Lord comes.  He will turn the hearts of the fathers to their children and the hearts of the children to their fathers or else I will come and strike the land with a curse.”  So ends the Old Testament.  Ouch. No happy ever after here. 

         Elijah is prophesied to return and so at the time of Jesus, the people were looking for Elijah.  Today we ponder if Elijah will come as one of the predicted prophets in Revelation before “end times.”  We started the week with Moses telling the Jews as Moses was about to die that God would raise up prophets. We end the Old Testament and this week with Malachi saying God will send a prophet.  Sunday we will read Mark’s account of Jesus stepping into a social scene not that different from today – political struggles, oppressed people, economic challenges, and injustice. Are we like the people in Malachi’s time, whining about what God is not doing to make life work the way we want it to or are we able to stop and evaluate that perhaps we are not being the people he would have us to be?  Prophets call us to repent, to return to God as our source of life.  Let’s take a few minutes today to reflect on how we might open our ears to hear this message and how we might draw our hearts closer to each other.  Blessings as you prepare for Sunday.

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