Summary: Malachi; the Final Prophet – (Part 1) GODLY INSIGHT FOR TODAY
✎ The most famous play in Rose Bowl history occurs in 1929 when Georgia Tech beats California 8 to 7. Anyone who knows anything about football will tell you that something unusual must have happened for Georgia Tech to have scored 8 points. It wasn’t a two point conversion after Georgia Tech’s touchdown; Tech missed their PAT and would have lost the game if not for one play that made all the difference in the outcome of the game. Cal’s center Roy Riegels recovered a quarterback fumble and ran 65 yards before being tackled at the one yard line by his teammate Benny Lom. Lom says, “I shouted but he couldn’t hear me because of the crowd noise.” What do you think Benny was shouting as the two players ran towards the goal line? “TURN AROUND! YOU’RE GOING THE WRONG WAY” would be a pretty good guess. “Wrong way Roy” forced his team to have to punt from their end zone. Tech blocked the punt scoring a 2 point safety that secured their victory.
As we run through the game of life we too can find ourselves “running the wrong way.” The Bible says, “The way of a fool is right in his own eyes” (Proverbs 12:15 KJV). God sees when we start to “run the wrong way.” God doesn’t just watch us run toward death and destruction, but in His great love God will send us a message.
Which brings us to Malachi. Today we begin a series of messages drawn from the last book of the Old Testament “The Final Prophet–Godly Insight for Daily Life.”
Malachi, whose name means “my messenger,” was sent by God to the nation of Israel who was again headed the wrong direction. Malachi’s message was like those God had sent to His people before. “Repent! Repent!” Literally Malachi told God’s people “Turn around! You’re going the wrong way.”
Malachi delivered God’s timeless message of repentance; it is a message which is needed just as much today as when Malachi first spoke these words to a nation who had lost their way. Through His messenger, God reveals the wayward condition of the heart of man calling them to repent and turn back to God.
1. Malachi delivers the message of repentance upon the foundation of God’s unfailing love.
+ Malachi 1:1-2 1An oracle [the burden (KJV) the message (NLT)]: The word of the Lord to Israel through Malachi. 2“I have loved you,” says the Lord. (NIV)
Right from the start Malachi makes God’s love known. Too many people today picture God like the angry Zeus sitting high above us with lightning bolts in hand to destroy us. If you hear only one thing today, I pray it is this. God is not angry with you; God loves you. God is our loving heavenly Father with open arms waiting to embrace all who will turn around and come back to Him.
God has made His love know right from the beginning; His love is woven throughout the tapestry of scripture.
+ Exodus 34:6 [God] said, "I am the Lord, I am the Lord, the merciful and gracious God. I am slow to anger and rich in unfailing love and faithfulness. (NLT)
The Bible tells us simply, “GOD IS LOVE” (1 John 4:8,16). The character and nature of God is love. God’s love isn’t fickle; His love is not dependent upon us. God is love.
+ 2 Timothy 2:13 If we give up on him, he does not give up—for there’s no way he can be false to himself. (MsgB)
Perhaps we should say, “When we give up on God” instead of “If.” Let’s be honest with ourselves; when we face hardship we often question God’s love for us.
2. God’s love is often questioned.
+ Malachi 1:2 But you ask, “How have you loved us?” (NIV)
“You don’t love me anymore!” “If you loved me, then you wouldn’t treat me like this.” What child has not said–or at least thought–something like that?
✎ I remember a time when I was about 12 years old when I didn’t think my parents were treating me fairly. I hastily grabbed some things; put my dog, Heidi on her leash (she was the only one who really loved and understood me), and the two of us started off down the street. We were running away. I didn’t get far before we turned around and came back home (it may have even been Heidi tugging on her leash). Mom and Dad were there to welcome us back home. Even though the circumstances had not changed; deep in my heart I knew they loved me.
God’s people were questioning God’s love; “How have you loved us?” “Hey God, if this is what it’s like to be loved by You, then why don’t you go show your love to someone else.”