“The prophet Malachi’s name means “my messenger.” Malachi contrasted the faithfulness of the Lord with the faithfulness of Israel. The Lord had always loved Israel, still loved Israel, and would always love His people. In return, the Lord expected the honor due to a father from a child or the respect due to a master from a slave. The Israelites had failed to honor God, choosing instead to participate in disrespectful worship practices and to oppress their fellow Israelites. The Lord would deal with these issues by judging the guilty and blessing the repentant. He would purify His people, removing those who persisted in disobedience and leaving behind a righteous remnant. While animal sacrifices and tithes are concerns more of the Old Testament than of the New Testament, the principle of bringing the best to the Lord still abides. Honor and respect are still due the Lord, and He still desires that those who worship Him do so by dedicating themselves entirely to Him. The tithe was a way to carry out in an economic way the wholehearted love of God and the love of neighbor as oneself. Believers today would do well to consider all they have as a stewardship responsibility from the Lord, asking Him what He would have them do with what He has given.” (HCSB)

2:7, 10: “For the lips of a priest should guard knowledge, and people should seek instruction from his mouth, because he is the messenger of the LORD of Hosts. Don’t all of us have one Father? Didn’t one God create us? Why then do we act treacherously against one another, profaning the covenant of our fathers?” As Creator, God is the Father of His people and desires covenantal loyalty within His family.

In regards to 3:8-12, “As it was for Haggai, an issue for Malachi was the community’s provision for its worship life. The people were not bringing in the tithe of their grain for the support of the priesthood and the temple ceremonies. In response, Malachi declared the word of the Lord: “Bring the full 10 percent into the storehouse.” Interpreters do not all agree on the status of the tithe in Christian practice. Some see it as part of the Law of Moses that has been superseded as a mandatory requirement in the new covenant of Jesus Christ. Others see it as a fundamental principle of faithful Christian living in the kingdom of God, comparable to the moral requirements of the Ten Commandments. Most would agree on several points, however. (1) The tithe of one’s increase does not represent all that belongs to the Lord; it is emblematic of the fact that “everything in the heavens and on earth belongs to You”(1 Chronicles 29:11), and whatever a person has should be applied, in some way, to God’s purposes. (2) The tithe supports the work of God through the church He has called to serve Him in the world. It is instrumental in making possible both the edification of believers and the outreach to unbelievers; without it, the church’s mission and the extension of the kingdom of God would be hampered. (3) The practice of tithing, and of giving in general, prepares the believer to receive blessing from the Lord. The grasping hand is not open to what He seeks to give. On this last point, Malachi specifically urged the Judeans to “test Me in this way” (verse 10).”

In regards to 3:16-18, “In the era of “postmodernism,” the distinction between what is right and wrong is often minimized; what is wrong for one person, it is said, may be right for another, or what is right in one situation may be wrong in another. Such indifference to moral and ethical standards can even filter into the Christian community. Malachi spoke of a time when such indifference will no longer be the case, for those who “feared the LORD,” at least, it would be clear what was righteous and what was wicked, and it would be evident who was truly serving God. Jesus Christ laid down a firm test of righteousness, or standing with God: “No one comes to the Father except through Me” (John 14:6). Whether or not a person is found “in Christ” (2 Corinthians 5:17) would not be a matter of indifference; it would be a test on the order of that of which Malachi spoke.”

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