“Behold, I send my messenger, and he will prepare the way before me. And the Lord whom you seek will suddenly come to his temple; and the messenger of the covenant in whom you delight, behold, he is coming, says the Lord of hosts. But who can endure the day of his coming, and who can stand when he appears? For he is like a refiner's fire and like fullers soap. Malachi 3:1-2
The Jewish people continue to return to Jerusalem and rebuild the city and temple. They are still oppressed, as they settle into their new normal. They still desperately wait for the promised Messiah and restored kingdom so many prophets spoke of. They long for the glory days of a strong, prosperous, free, powerful, and united kingdom. They are waiting for a king to lead them and save them.
The Old Testament ends with the prophet Malachi. At this point, the Israelites have been back in Jerusalem for some time now (about 100 years). They are at another spiritual low point. Lack of honor and respect. Giving God leftovers, rather than their first and best. Corrupt religious leaders. Unfaithfulness. Lack of tithing. Just going through the religious motions. The arrogant are blessed, while many are oppressed.
Malachi (speaking on behalf of God), like the prophets before him, is worried about the hearts of the Israelites and wants them to return to putting God first. He warns of God’s coming judgment. He tells of a messenger who is to come before the Messiah to prepare the way.
You can feel the tension mounting. Malachi ends with a warning and a promise that the great and awesome day of the Lord is coming.
Malachi…the last prophet.
Then 400 years of silence...
Challenge: Spend time recapping God’s story to us so far. Flip back through your notes, Bible, and devotionals. Think over the highs and lows, and what has brought God’s people to this point. Imagine their lives as they wait for so long without the Messiah coming and without hearing from God through any more prophets.