We come to the last book in the Old Testament. Malachi was written about a hundred years after Haggai and Zechariah. The temple had been rebuilt and the descendants of the returning Jews were back to their old habits: the habits of the flesh.
Do you remember when we read Obadiah and talked about Esau and Jacob? Esau was the child of the flesh, and represented that person. Jacob, however, represented the child of the spirit. The natural man is the first-born man; the spiritual man is the one we get when we get born again. The second man.
God makes it very clear in Malachi, as He did earlier, that the spirit man, Jacob, is the one He loves. Natural men can never please God, even though He loves them. There is too much sin and selfishness.
In this final book the Lord reminds the priests once again that He is not pleased with disobedience and rebellion. They are bringing their second-rate lambs to be sacrificed, instead of their best. They are being unfaithful to their wives. They are not bringing their tithes into the temple.
All of these issues are tell-tale signs of apathy toward the Lord. They were going through the motions of their religious rituals, but their hearts are not there.
God hates that attitude. Apathy is the worst attitude we can have, because it signifies indifference. There is no way someone can be apathetic and full of faith. Those two mindsets don’t go together.
So the Lord chastises His people, but finally He brings hope, as He always does. “The day is coming…for you who fear My name, the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its wings; and you will go forth and skip about like calves from the stall.” (4:3)
We always have a promise from our Father. If we will pursue Him, there are wonderful promises in store.
That’s all, folks, until Jesus appears on the scene. Nearly 400 years go by with no more prophetic Words from God. Now I’m quite sure that some men had words or dreams, but nothing that was to be included in the Bible.
This was a long wilderness time for His nation Israel, but think about what was coming. At the right time, God is going to bring His Son to the earth, and the fulfillment of His promises will be more than any could ever imagine. (We can never guess what great things our Father is going to do. His plans are much higher than we can think).
His ideas are always worth waiting for.
Do you remember Ezekiel 47 and the river of God flowing from the temple? Well here we see the same river: the river of the water of life, clear as crystal, coming from the throne of God and of the Lamb. And once again we see that trees line the banks of this river, bearing fruit in every season.
And there shall no longer be any curse. We shall see His face and His name shall be on our foreheads. The glory of the Lord shall be so bright that we will no longer need the sun. His light will be our sun. (V.3-4)
These events will take place for certain, because God’s Word is always true.
John goes on to tell us to “hold fast” the words of this prophecy. We are not to add to it nor take away from it. This Word is true. (V.18-19)
Our finite minds can’t imagine a day when the sun would no longer need to shine, or when we could just look at Jesus, or when there would be no more evil in the earth. Those things are hard to imagine.
This is why it’s important for us to pursue our God with all diligence. We want to have His best.
Right now His best involves us having joy in the world – with our family and friends. He loves for us to have a good time in this life. Yet always we should put Him first, keeping our minds on things above so that our faith grows along with our love.
I pray that you and I will be right in the middle of all that our God is doing in the earth. It’s forever upward for us as we journey on with Him.
I have thoroughly enjoyed this year of reading the Word along with you. The Bible is not a book which can be mastered by reading a passage a day. Each book could be studied in depth to derive all that the Lord wants us to know. However, by reading straight through, as we did, we get to see the common threads.
We get to see the nature of man, and we get to see the nature of God. We see God’s love as He has pursued man so diligently. We also see His faithfulness.
As we continue in our study, we will uncover more and more layers of understanding. So hope you will continue!