Highlights In Today's Reading:
Malachi's prophecy reveals the people of God determined to sin. They expressed surprise that God wasn't pleased (1:6-7). He rebukes the priests (1:6-2:9), the people for social (2:10-17) and religious sins (3:7-18). Malachi looks forward to John the Baptist (3:1) and the coming day of the Lord (4:1).
The Israelites who had returned to Jerusalem and rebuilt the city walls and the Temple were dead. Sadly, their descendants had lost sight of their high calling and the purpose for their existence. Many had developed an attitude of religious formality toward God. This easily lead to toleration of evil, including witchcraft and sorcery. Although God warned against all forms of sorcery, the people became insensitive to His Word.
Anyone who believes he can gain guidance or information about the future through occult powers — including communication with the dead, Ouija boards, fortune-tellers, horoscopes, and astrology — is being led by evil demons and is deceiving ignorant people. We are warned: I will come near to you to judgment; and I will be a swift witness against the sorcerers. . . . For I am the Lord, I change not (Malachi 3:5-6; also see Leviticus 19:26-31; 20:6; Deuteronomy 18:9-14; Isaiah 8:16-20; 44:25; Jeremiah 14:13-16; 27:8-11; Ezekiel 13:6-9,23.)
Malachi lived perhaps 70 years after Haggai and Zechariah when deplorable spiritual and moral deterioration had developed.
The Israelites had lost the zeal and dedication to God that existed when the Temple was being rebuilt under the preaching of Haggai and Zechariah. Malachi's desire was to guide them to a renewed relationship with God. This godly prophet appealed first to Israel to return to the Lord who loved them (Malachi 1); then he appealed to the priests, pointing out their sins (Chapter 2). In Chapter 3, he foretold of a future time when the Messenger of the Covenant — Christ, the Messiah (3:1-3) — would appear. Finally, he foretold the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord (4:5) when all that do wickedly will be destroyed and all who have lived to please the Lord will be rewarded (3:17; 4:1-2).
Like Malachi, as we await that coming day our personal relationship with the Lord should grow deeper each day. Why settle for less than God's best? Why limit His ability to work through you to fulfill His will for your life?
The more you read all the Bible the more you become the person God wants you to be. Desire the sincere milk of the Word, that ye may grow thereby (I Peter 2:2).
Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; Who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto Himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works (Titus 2:13-14).
Thought for Today:
One lesson learned from the old Testament is that religion alone leads to sin and spiritual death, but a right relationship with God brings eternal life.
The Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to His Temple (Malachi 3:1). Jesus went into the Temple. . . . saying . . . My House shall be called . . . the House of prayer (Mark 11:15-17).
1:6 fear =b> reverence, willing obedience; 1:13 snuffed at =b> sneered, lightly esteemed, despised, scorned; 2:12 The Lord will cut off . . . the master and the scholar =b> the priest or the layman will be rejected; 3:13 stout =b> harsh, strong.
Pray for International Shortwave Broadcasts sponsored by Dr. John A. Hash in memory of Letha Hash • Staff: Al Joslyn • Government Official: Sen. Blanche Lincoln (AR) and Rep. Thomas Reynolds (NY) • Country: Guyana (705,000) on the northeastern coast of South America • Major languages: English and Amerindian dialects • The government is becoming increasingly Marxist, radical, and atheistic • 36% Hindu; 28% Protestant; 10% Roman Catholic; 9% Muslim • Prayer Suggestion: Declare the wondrous works of God with thanksgiving (Psa. 26:6-7).
Memory Verse for the Week: James 5:10