From the Book of Malachi:

And I will come near to you to judgment; and I will be a swift witness against the sorcerers, and against the adulterers, and against false swearers, and against those that oppress the hireling in his wages, the widow, and the fatherless, and that turn aside the stranger from his right, and fear not me, saith the LORD of hosts. For I am the LORD, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed (Mal. 3:5-6).

And I will come near to you to judgment; and I will be a swift witness against the sorcerers, and against the adulterers, and against false swearers, and against those that oppress the hireling in his wages, the widow, and the fatherless, and that turn aside the stranger from his right, and fear not me, saith the LORD of hosts. For I am the LORD, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed (Mal. 3:5-6).

Malachi lived more than a hundred years after Haggai and Zechariah, and many years after the revivals of Ezra and Nehemiah. By the time he was called to serve the Lord, the Israelites who had returned to Jerusalem and rebuilt the Temple and the city walls were long dead. Their descendants had lost sight of their high calling and the purpose for their existence. Instead of the close, personal relationship that had sustained the remnant during their exile in Babylon and through the trying years after their return, many of these had developed an attitude of religious formality toward God. This easily opened the door to a toleration of evil, including witchcraft and sorcery. Although God had warned against all forms of sorcery, the people had become insensitive to His Word, an attitude that is also rather prevalent in today's society. Particularly grievous to the Lord was how quickly His people had turned to outside forces for direction. 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, has been deceived by Satan. Seeking supernatural guidance from a force other than our Lord was then, and is now, an insult to God who desires to be our only guide as He directs our lives through His Word and prayerful communication.

Malachi's ministry began amongst the deplorable spiritual and moral deterioration of the Jews. As with the prophets of old, Malachi's desire was to guide God's chosen people into a loving and obedient relationship with God. This godly prophet appealed first to the nation of Israel as a whole, entreating them to return to the Lord who loved them. Next, he appealed to the priests, pointing out their sins. Then he foretold of a future time when the Messenger of the Covenant (3:1), Christ, the Messiah, would appear. Finally, he foretold the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD (4:5) when all who have lived wickedly will be destroyed and all who have lived to please the Lord will be rewarded. Malachi's mission was to help the people realize that despite every bad thing that had happened: i.e. the capture of Jerusalem; the destruction of the Temple; the deaths of tens of thousands of God's chosen people, and/or every miraculous thing that had happened: i.e. the protection of the remnant; the restoration of the Temple; the prosperity that followed, God's people had gone back to square one. Once again, they had become a people in dire need of intervention.

Today, in so many ways, we too are just like them. We are in desperate need of the counsel of God! Praise God, He has made sure that we have that counsel at our fingertips 24 hours a day. The Holy Bible represents the best that God has to offer. It is up to us to read and study His Word until we are capable of offering the Lord our best as well!

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:

But the end of all things is at hand: be ye therefore sober, and watch unto prayer (I Pet. 4:7).

Christ Revealed:

The LORD, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to His Temple (Mal. 3:1). Jesus went into the Temple. . . . saying . . . My House shall be called . . . the House of prayer (Mark 11:15-17).

Word Studies:

1:6 fear = reverence, willing obedience; 1:13 snuffed at = sneered, lightly esteemed, despised, scorned; 2:12 The Lord will cut off . . . the master (who hath married the daughter of a strange god ‑ see 2:11) and the scholar = the priest and the layman will be rejected; 3:13 Your words have been stout against Me = Your attitude has been harsh, strong against Me.

Prayer Needs:

Pray For Staff: Ilene Wallace • Government Official: Sen. Blanche Lincoln (AR) • Country: Comoros (766,865) Southern Africa • Major Languages: Arabic, French, Shikomorro • Societal discrimination continued against non‑Muslim citizens, particularly Christians and those who converted from Islam • 98% Sunni Muslim; 2% Roman Catholic • Prayer Suggestion: Rely upon the Lord at all times; He is your refuge (Ps. 62:8).

Devotion courtesy Bible Pathway Ministries