Perhaps being tired of waiting for the coming of Messiah as promised, they caught hold of the virus of apathy and indifference. From the priests who showed contempt for God’s name to the offering of imperfect animals of people for the sacrifice, the whole land was contaminated. Not forgetting the unfaithfulness to the marriage covenant and the taking in of wives who worshipped idols, Jerusalem was indeed living on dangerous ground. The prophet remembered the cries of King David, “You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it; you do not take pleasure in burnt offerings. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.” Oh, how God would have loved that spirit of brokenness from the people.
Both Ezra and Nehemiah had felt like Moses coming down from the mountain carrying the Law of God and found his people worshipping the golden calf. They had worked hard to maintain a vision for the land, in preparation for the Messiah to take them to greater heights but it was being torn asunder. Prophet Malachi and the leaders of Jerusalem knew of the slippery slope they were walking in dealing with the people, knowing any spiritual slips from them might result in judgment of the Almighty God. It was also the first time God was wearied with the people’s words of apathy. It was an incessant excuse to live outside the will of God.
As Prophet Malachi met with Ezra and Nehemiah for prayer, the reassuring words came from heaven, "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; the messenger of the covenant, whom you desire, will come. He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver; he will purify the Levites and refine them like gold and silver. Then the LORD will have men who will bring offerings in righteousness, and the offerings of Judah and Jerusalem will be acceptable to the LORD, as in days gone by, as in former years.”
The Messiah would indeed turn up as promised.
Then Malachi stood up to proclaim an encouragement not only to Ezra and Nehemiah but also to all who walked in God’s ways, “Those who feared the LORD talked with each other, and the LORD listened and heard. A scroll of remembrance was written in his presence concerning those who feared the LORD and honored his name. God says, ‘They will be mine in the day when I make up my treasured possession. I will spare them, just as in compassion a man spares his son who serves him. And you will again see the distinction between the righteous and the wicked, between those who serve God and those who do not’”
It was a vindication for them as they knelt there and gave praise to the Almighty. As they worshipped God, Malachi got even more than he bargained for, God showed him the final victory of the Messiah, "Surely the day is coming; it will burn like a furnace. All the arrogant and every evildoer will be stubble, and that day that is coming will set them on fire," says the LORD Almighty. "Not a root or a branch will be left to them. But for you who revere my name, the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its wings. And you will go out and leap like calves released from the stall.”
Indeed, their hearts did leap right there and then at those words!
What would Prophet Malachi say to us if he were to be alive today?
1. God is not slow in keeping His promises. His timing is always perfect!
2. Ask the right questions that help you in your spiritual growth and not those that tear you apart.
3. Watch out for disappointments in life as the devil can use them as tools to destroy you.
4. God’s thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways His ways. As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are His ways higher than your ways and His thoughts than your thoughts.
5. The Messiah will come the second time. He came the first time as promised, didn’t He?