Israel 2016

Israel 2016
Roman architectural influence in Bet Sean, Israel

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Chronological Reading Plan for Sep 29, Mal 1-4

Today's readings are Mal 1-4. Tomorrow's are Luke 1, John 1.

Malachi brings the Old Testament to a close and sets the stage for the coming of Christ and the advent of the New Testament.

Malachi is, most likely, a contemporary of Ezra and Nehemiah. His book is dated somewhere around 460 B.C.

The people are backsliding, once again. Malachi is a wake-up call for a return to fidelity and obedience to God.  There are 3 primary sections:

1. The people should honor Yahweh (Mal 1:1-2:9)...they're not honoring Him. Nonetheless they are loved by God. 

2. God is faithful even when they are not (2:10-3:6)

3. They should return to God and remember His goodness (3:7-4:6). He is sending a "messenger".

We've witnessed the grace of God in how He relates to His people. We've seen their weakness and fickleness. Malachi describes a familiar scene. The people have allowed self-centered self interests to shuffle their commitment to God off to the side. We've seen this all before in things like the squabbling between Jacob and Esau, the rivalry between the 12 sons of Jacob, the complaints in the wilderness, the golden calf, the in-fighting in the Promised Land, the general darkness of the days of Judges and the falling away that led to captivity by the Assyrians, then the Babylonians, then the Persians.

God redeemed every one of those situations. God was steadfast and true. His redemption always occurred by His grace alone. This is a reminder of how God operates. He functions through unmerited favor toward those who have done nothing to earn it. He is patient with those He has chosen. He loves those He has chosen based on who He is, not who they are, based on what He does, not what they do. 

He's about to present the Messiah to the same people He delivered from slavery in Egypt and ushered into the Promised Land. Even though they fell and were swept away into captivity, by His grace, He brought them back. Once they were back in their homeland, they fell away again and again. God remained faithful throughout, so completely faithful that He sends Malachi to tell them the promised Messiah is on His way, in spite of their unfaithfulness.

What an awesome God! What an awesome Old Testament! Every book, every page, every verse has prepared God’s people for His incarnation. By Malachi’s time, God has been revealing Himself, His character and nature, one step at a time for nearly 4,000 years. In Malachi, He tells them their Redeemer is coming and to prepare for Him.

The New Testament will tell the Redeemer’s story.

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