Memory verse: Malachi 3:10 "Bring ye the whole tithe into the store-house, that there may be food in my house, and prove me now herewith, saith Jehovah of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it."
The name "Malachi" means "my messenger." Written last of the Old Testament books, it was followed by over 400 years of silence from God. At the time of the writing, Jerusalem had been rebuilt, but the Jewish people were lazy, lethargic in their devotion to God, and indifferent. The overall theme of the book is "Why do the wicked prosper and the righteous suffer hardship, if God is good?" The answer: the real payoff for both will come in the judgment.
I. The apostasy and sin of Israel
A. Sins of the priesthood, 1: 1 - 2: 9
B. Sins in intermarriage, 2: 10 - 17. Slothfulness about the judgment--the New Testament parallel is in II Peter 3: 3-10
C. Acceptable sacrifices--Leviticus 22: 21-22.
II. Judgment for sinners, blessings for the penitent
A. God is testing man's ability to live for something more permanent than today. Instant gratification--isn't that a problem of today? See Revelation 13: 11 - 14: 5.
B. Verse 5 reminds us of the judgment
C. Verse 6-- Hebrews 13: 8--"Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, today, and forever."
D. Will a man rob God?
E. Elijah--as John the baptizer, or Elijah of the Mount of transfiguration. Take your pick.
III.Applications for today.
A. Honor God. Honor Him through honoring his Son. Live as His Son calls us to live--soberly, righteously, and Godly in the present age ( Titus 2: 11-15).
B. Worship as God commands us to worship. Does God have to draw us any more vivid picture than what He drew in Malachi? He rebuked the priests of that time for not doing the sacrifices as they were supposed to. We today are our own priests. See I Peter 2: 9-10. There is no one between you and God. If your sacrifice is not worthy, only you are to blame.
C. Live the life of sacrifice that God has asked you to live. Romans 12: 1-2.