Chapter 3 of Malachi begins with a prophecy of a coming messenger of the Lord. You may remember this from the opening chapter of the gospel of Mark, where we learn that this is a prophecy about John the Baptist. This messenger will bring a refining fire to God’s people. He will begin to make things right between God and His people once again. When John the Baptist came, he prepared the way for Jesus. In his preaching we learn that God does not take sin lightly, but God has prepared a remedy for our sin in Jesus Christ, “the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.”
Malachi tells the people that God’s judgment is coming. He lists several things that God specifically is angry about. God is angry that some bosses are taking advantage of their hired workers and not treating them fairly. God is angry because they are not treating foreigners in their land with decency and care. All of the sins in this list are judgments against people who are mistreating or taking advantage of other people.
Next, Malachi tells them that God is angry because they have been unfaithful in giving their tithes and offerings. God issues a challenge to the people. “Bring the full tithe into the storehouse that there may be food in my house. And thereby put me to the test, says that Lord of hosts, if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down a blessing…” Unfortunately, some preachers have used this very scripture to oppress people by telling them that they should give to the church before they meet their own needs. Such preaching oppresses people and does not bless as God intends. But there is reward in giving to God as He leads you.
Once again Malachi tells the people that they have dishonored God by declaring that God’s justice isn’t real. We can grow cynical as we see evil people prospering. But God tells us that His reward and remembrance will come to those who remember Him and His ways. Don’t give up on God! He has not given up on you!
Love in Christ,
Greg Burriss, Pastor
Rocky River Baptist Church
Siler City, NC
5 days of scripture reading and prayer:
Day 1: Read Malachi 3:1-4. (You may think that verse 1 seems familiar. It is part of the gospel quotation introducing John the Baptist in the gospels. See Mark 1:1-3.) What consequences follow the coming of the Lord’s messenger? Pray that God will help you refine the parts of your life that do not please Him.
Day 2: Read Malachi 3:5. This verse lists numerous things that God will judge. Can you think of something that is a common part of each of these sins? (Do give you a hint of what I am thinking of, think of a sorcerer as someone who is conning people with false hope.) Pray that God will lead you to bless those in need and not make their lives harder.
Day 3: Read Malachi 3:6-12. What does Malachi accuse the people of robbing from God? Pray that God will direct you to give tithes and offerings that honor Him.
Day 4: Read Malachi 3:13-15. How have the people spoken against God according to these verses? Pray that God will give you increased faith that does not waver or grow cynical.
Day 5: Read Malachi 3:16-18. What will the Lord remember? Pray that God will help you gather with and strengthen other believers who trust in Him.