Malachi, the last book of the Old Testament both chronologically and by position, is felt to date to about the same time period as Nehemiah and represents "The burden of the word of the LORD to Israel" Malachi 1:1. It was written after the return to Jerusalem following the 70 years of captivity, and after reconstruction of the temple. With this understanding, it is not surprising to find that the book of Malachi addresses many of the same issues as Nehemiah, all of which have relevance to us today, and are given because of God's love (verse 2). We'll consider a few.
"Ye offer polluted bread upon mine altar. . . And if ye offer the blind for sacrifice, is it not evil? and if ye offer the lame and sick, is it not evil?" Malachi 1:7, 8. You might wonder what polluted, defective sacrifices have to do with us today, but one read of Romans 12:1 should bring clarity. "I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service." It would do well for us to consider the "sacrifices" we offer to God.
"Judah hath profaned the holiness of the LORD . . . Because the LORD hath been witness between thee and the wife of thy youth, against whom thou hast dealt treacherously: yet is she thy companion, and the wife of thy covenant. . . For the LORD, the God of Israel, saith that he hateth putting away" Malachi 2:14, 16. The words "putting away" mean divorce. Not only were they divorcing without thought of the marriage commitment, but many were then marrying heathen wives. And what is the track record of divorces within the Christian community today? God's intent for marriage has not changed – a lasting union that can exemplify His love for the church.
Here is a startling announcement from the Lord of which all should take note! "Ye are cursed with a curse: for ye have robbed me. . . In tithes and offerings." Malachi 3:9, 8. But the remedy and a wonderful promise follow. "Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the LORD 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" verse 10.
We would all do well to take Malachi's message to heart.
Kathryn Irizarry is a member of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.