TODAY’S READING: MALACHI 1-4
OVERVIEW: Introduction (1:1); Israel questions God’s love (1:2-5); the priests dishonor God (1:6-2:9); God’s people’s treacherous dealing with one another (2:10-16); Israel’s perversion of good and evil (2:17); the promise of “the messenger of the covenant” (3:1-7); Israel robs God (3:8-12); Israel’s arrogant words against God (3:13-15); God’s message of reassurance (3:16-4:3); exhortation to remember the law of Moses (4:4); the promise of Elijah’s return before the day of the Lord (4:5-6).
HIGHLIGHTS & INSIGHTS:
When you have completed today’s reading you will have read the last of the 929 chapters, 23,214 verses, 592,439 words, and approximately 2,728,100 letters that comprise the Old Testament in our King James Bible. Perhaps this is a good time to remind you that the goal of the 365 Days of Pursuit is not simply to get through the Word of God, but for the Word of God to get through us!
Several things make the little Book of Malachi unique.
First, it is unique, in that the exact date of the Book is not known. It is generally accepted that Malachi lived approximately 100 years after Haggai and Zechariah, and is associated with the reforms of Ezra and Nehemiah. To help place his ministry, keep in mind that a remnant returned from captivity in 536 B.C. Under Haggai and Zechariah’s leadership, the Temple had been rebuilt in approximately 520-516 B.C. After another 60 years, Ezra came on the scene to re-establish the nation spiritually (457 B.C.), and after another 13 years (444 B.C.), Nehemiah was used of God to rebuild the wall. Malachi is most likely a contemporary of Nehemiah, because they faced the same exact spiritual problems: a profane priesthood (Mal. 2:1-9 c.f. Neh. 13:27-30), mixed marriages with the heathen (Mal.2:10-16 c.f. Neh. 13:23-29), the withholding of tithes from God’s house (Mal. 3:8-12 c.f. Neh. 13:10-13), and an overall spiritual apathy in the hearts of God’s people. The date of the Book!
is placed approximately at 450-400 B.C.
Second, the Book of Malachi is unique in the style in which it its written. Malachi uses a question–and–answer format to reveal the absolute spiritual cluelessness of the people due to their arrogance and apathy. There are at least 25 questions recorded in these four brief chapters!
Third, this Book is unique in that 47 of the 55 verses in this Book are actually spoken by God. That is certainly the highest percentage of any of the Books of the prophets.
Fourth, the Book of Malachi is the only one of the prophets whose Book ends on a note of condemnation and judgment, rather than restoration and hope. The word God chose to use to conclude the entire Old Testament is quite interesting and revealing. (If you don’t know what it is, take a second now to look it up.) That word points us to the reality of man’s sinful condition, and makes us long for a remedy that is satisfying to God’s justice and holiness. (Can you think of one? See I John 2:2.) And then fifth, this Book is unique because when Malachi penned the final word in 4:6, there was no more new revelation from God for a period of approximately 400 years. We often refer to them as “the 400 years of silence.” You might could say the last Book of the Old Testament foreshadows the first Book of the New Testament, as John the Baptist breaks the silence by declaring, “Prepare ye the way of the Lord” (after reading Malachi 3:1, turn over a few pages and read Matthew 3:1-!
CHRIST IS REVEALED:
As the LORD, WHOM YE SEEK, (WHO) SHALL SUDDENLY COME TO HIS TEMPLE – Mal. 3:1 (Mark 11:15-17).
As the SUN OF RIGHTEOUSNESS – Mal. 4:2 (John 9:5).