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Friday, October 31, 2014

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“‘See, I will send my messenger, who will prepare the way before me. . . .’” (Malachi 3:1).

In Malachi 2:7, God said a priest was supposed to be “a messenger of the Lord.” But the priests at the time of Malachi—and for the four centuries after that—were more like messengers of evil. Political and materialistic, God’s religious leaders were leading the people into darkness.

One indication of Israel’s darkness was their financial priorities. God even said that the people were robbing Him.

“‘But you ask, “How do we rob You?”’  ‘In tithes and offerings. You are under a curse—the whole nation of you—because you are robbing Me. Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,’ says the Lord Almighty, ‘and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it. I will prevent pests from devouring your crops, and the vines in your fields will not fail to bear fruit,’ says the Lord Almighty. ‘Then all the nations will call you blessed, for yours will be a delightful land,’ says the Lord Almighty.”

In God’s eyes, the act of financial giving was no different than the act of animal sacrifice. God asks for our best, and when we give Him our best, He will refine our offering in the fire and give it back to us as He sees fit.

But the people were not learning God’s ways because the messengers of the people were not teaching them right. What would be God’s response?

“‘See,’ I will send my messenger, who will prepare the way before Me. Then suddenly the Lord you are seeking will come to His Temple . . .” (Malachi 3:1). God would send His own messenger.  And then He would come (see Matt. 3:1-3).

Malachi concludes with these encouraging words: “Those who feared the Lord spoke encouragingly to one another, and the Lord listened and heard them.  So book of remembrance was written before Him about those who fear the Lord and meditate on His name.”

 

Andy Nash, Professor

Southern Adventist University