“Behold, I send My messenger, and He will prepare the way before Me.” John the Baptist would eventually be the Lord’s ambassador at the close of the Old Covenant era. This important prophet did all that God had promised in introducing the Messiah to Israel. “The Lord whom you seek will suddenly come to His temple.” The Savior that John pointed to was both Yahweh and “the messenger of the covenant in whom you delight.”
Jesus was to one day judge the wicked and purify the elect. The end result of this holy work would be the offering of the perfected church to the Father that could rightly be said to be “pleasing to the Lord.” Nonetheless, for those outside the protection of the saving grace of Jehovah, God would be “a swift witness” against those not having an appropriate “fear” toward the great I-AM.
Was Israel so sinful that God had to come in person to atone for the nation? Malachi presented a specific example of wrongdoing where so many of the religious people of that day were failing. “Will man rob God?” They could not imagine that they were guilty of such an offense, yet the Lord insisted that they were stealing from Him in “tithes and contributions.” Yahweh invited His worshipers to “test” Him regarding these just demands. If they gave what the Lord commanded, He would “open the windows of heaven” for them and “rebuke the devourer” so that they could prosper again.
Some of those who heard the message of Malachi took these matters to heart and recorded their resolve in a “book of remembrance.” The Lord promised to make them His “treasured possession.” Yet what would become of the best intentions of even the most observant Jews? Could anyone truly offer up the perfect perpetual obedience that Jehovah rightly required of them?
The salvation of God’s chosen ones would be a very costly endeavor. Our Redeemer had to give far more than a tithe in order to buy us back from sin and death. His 100 percent sacrifice of Himself on the cross was necessary to satisfy His Father’s righteous judgment that stood against us. It is our privilege now to live for Jesus with grateful hearts in light of His incomparable generosity toward us. No one else could have paid the price that saved us from hell.
Prayer from A Book of Prayers
Father God, You have sent Your Son as the Mediator of a New Covenant. He has provided a way for those who reverence You, but He will come again to judge the wicked. We must return to You and be faithful with the possessions that You have given. We will generously support the work of Your church and give to the poor within our midst. Grant us true joy in Your service. We have committed ourselves to the way of righteousness. We will serve You.