Over the next two weeks, Time With God will study the book of Malachi. Malachi’s purpose was to call out the sins of the nation of Israel, and to call God’s chosen people back to their pursuit of holiness through obedience to the Mosaic Covenant. This covenant set apart the nation of Israel, and was conditional in that its blessings and curses were dependent upon Israel’s obedience. In the time of Malachi, Israel had turned away from God through disobedience: the priests were offering shoddy sacrifices, the people weren’t tithing appropriately, and the men of Judah were treating marriage in a contemptuous way. Malachi differentiated the people’s unfaithfulness with God’s faithfulness, revealing Yahweh as sovereign, long-suffering, and faithful to his covenant promises.
- Consider your own faithfulness to God and to the commands found in his Word. How do think you are faring, in terms of faithfulness and obedience, in your relationship with God?
READ THE WORD: LEVITICUS 26; MALACHI 3:6-7 (ESV)
(Leviticus 26:1-4, 12-16, 33, 40-42, 45-46)
26:1“You shall not make idols for yourselves or erect an image or pillar, and you shall not set up a figured stone in your land to bow down to it, for I am the Lord your God.2 You shall keep my Sabbaths and reverence my sanctuary: I am the Lord. 3 “If you walk in my statutes and observe my commandments and do them, 4 then I will give you your rains in their season, and the land shall yield its increase, and the trees of the field shall yield their fruit… 12 And I will walk among you and will be your God, and you shall be my people. 13 I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, that you should not be their slaves. And I have broken the bars of your yoke and made you walk erect. 14 “But if you will not listen to me and will not do all these commandments, 15 if you spurn my statutes, and if your soul abhors my rules, so that you will not do all my commandments, but break my covenant, 16 then I will do this to you: …33 And I will scatter you among the nations, and I will unsheathe the sword after you, and your land shall be a desolation, and your cities shall be a waste… 40 “But if they confess their iniquity and the iniquity of their fathers in their treachery that they committed against me, and also in walking contrary to me, 41 so that I walked contrary to them and brought them into the land of their enemies—if then their uncircumcised heart is humbled and they make amends for their iniquity, 42 then I will remember my covenant with Jacob, and I will remember my covenant with Isaac and my covenant with Abraham, and I will remember the land…45 But I will for their sake remember the covenant with their forefathers, whom I brought out of the land of Egypt in the sight of the nations, that I might be their God: I am the Lord.” 46 These are the statutes and rules and laws that the Lord made between himself and the people of Israel through Moses on Mount Sinai.
3:6“I the Lord do not change. So you, O descendants of Jacob, are not destroyed. 7 Ever since the time of your forefathers you have turned away from my decrees and have not kept them. Return to me, and I will return to you, says the Lord Almighty.”
RESPOND TO GOD
Concerning the Old Testament prophets, a commentator once said: “The task of a prophet is not to smooth things over but to make things right.” This is certainly the case with Malachi. As the mouthpiece of God, he voiced God’s displeasure with Israel’s disobedience. God is true and faithful—and he wholly expects the same in return from his people. As you study Malachi in the coming days, think about the following:
- How do you question or accuse God as you experience and respond to his sovereignty?
- What actions or attitudes of yours might God see as offensive?
- What does your service for and worship of God communicate about your devotion to him?
Finally, as you prayerfully begin your study, thank God for his faithful, redemptive love for you. Ask him what lessons you can learn from his words in Malachi.