Summary: Malachi speaks of the day when God will bring justice to the earth.
The prophet now addresses the few people in Israel who had remained faithful to God but who were lamenting the perceived lack of action on God’s part to bring appropriate judgment upon the rebellious among them. They had wrongly concluded that God was unwilling to judge sin. Malachi speaks of that day when all wrongs will be made right - the day of the coming of the Messiah - the Lord Jesus Christ.
1. Repent of your presumption - 2:17
I can almost see a modern day adult Sunday school class, sitting around on a Sunday morning, bemoaning the sinfulness of our age, and talking about how the second coming MUST be around the corner, and wondering why the Lord delays.
Malachi uses an “anthropomorphism,” that is, he uses human language to say that God was tired, He was fed up as it were, with these people. They did not think they had wearied God, but they had.
The fact is that there are a number of reasons why God might delay judgment. Chief among them being that He wants to give people a chance to repent and get right with Him. Peter explains this:
“The Lord does not delay and is not tardy or slow about what He promises, according to some people’s conception of slowness, but He is long-suffering (extraordinarily patient) toward you, not desiring that any should perish, but that all should turn to repentance.” - 2 Peter 3:9 (Amplified)
The prophet says their request for instant judgment was presumptuous - if they really wanted the justice of God then they would be in trouble, too (3:2). The fact was that just like there were those who needed to repent of waywardness; they needed to repent of their hardheartedness.
The rebellious and wayward were not the only ones that God was giving time to repent; they had some things that God was giving them time to repent of, too. Namely, their lack of compassion and their judgmental spirit toward those who in rebellion.
Their eyes needed to be opened to the compassion of God above them; the need of those around them; and the callousness within them.
“Let my heart be broken with the things that break God’s heart.” - Bob Pierce, World Vision founder
That is what needed to be the prayer of the people in Malachi’s day. Does it need to be your prayer, too?
2. Resolve to be patient - 3:1-5
Malachi pointed them to the coming of the Messiah, which would bring judgment to the wicked and reward to the righteous; and the justice and righteousness the people said they were longing for.
Now, the Old Testament prophets knew the facts about the Messiah, but they did not fully comprehend the time sequence concerning the events of His coming.
They did not know there was going to be a second coming of the Messiah - it just appeared that there would be only one to them. For example, the Old Testament prophets would speak how the Messiah would suffer and die, but also of how He would reign victoriously.
Peter explains they couldn’t put this together; but with the resurrection of Jesus and the promise of His return, we can now look back on the Old Testament passages and better understand them.
“This salvation was something even the prophets wanted to know more about when they prophesied about this gracious salvation prepared for you. They wondered what time or situation the Spirit of Christ within them was talking about when he told them in advance about Christ’s suffering and his great glory afterward.” - 1 Peter 1:10-11 (NLT)
Old Testament prophets saw the 1st & 2nd comings of Christ as one event. Kind of like a person seeing what looks to be one mountain peak, but there is another peak behind it with a valley in between.
While both comings of Christ are mentioned in this prophecy, it is the second coming of Christ, when all wrongs will be made right, that the prophet has in view; and Malachi shares three truths about the coming of the Messiah that will bring about ultimate justice to this world.
A. The Preparation for His coming - v. 1
The name of the prophet, Malachi, means, “my messenger.” The prophet was the Lord’s messenger. We have also seen the priests referred to as the Lord’s messengers. Now we see the word used twice, once for John the Baptist and once for Jesus.
Here is where we see both the first coming of Christ mentioned along with the second coming. In the first part of this verse, John the Baptist is the Messenger spoken of. This is a reference to the first coming of Christ. In the second part of the verse, the Messenger is Jesus, and is a reference to the second coming of Christ.