Session 1: Malachi 1.1-5
The first session gives an overview of the book of Malachi, which literally means “my messenger”. After the people of Israel had returned to the land from their captivity in Babylon; they settled in, rebuilt the temple, and got on with “normal” life again. Unfortunately, they very quickly strayed from some key elements of God’s instructions. This book is God’s message of correction and a promise to call them back to faithfulness.
- Play: Session 1 Video
Overview of Malachi
The word Malachi means “my messenger,” which leads some scholars to wonder if Malachi is the name of a specific individual or a sort of nickname for someone, perhaps even Ezra, who is giving this specific message from God.
We think this book would have been written very late in the Old Testament period after the people of Israel had returned to the land from their captivity in Babylon.
Once the people had settled back in the land, rebuilt the temple, and gotten on with “normal” life again, unfortunately, they very quickly strayed from some key elements of God’s instructions for them. This book is God’s message of correction and promise to call them back to faithfulness.
The format of the material largely takes the form of a back-and-forth discussion with God and his people (dialectic).
The first passage of the book sets the stage for the specific God will make in correcting his people. It is grounded in the love God has for them. While he will say some strong things against them, he first reminds them of the faithfulness he has demonstrated to them. It is a message of “tough love” that he has for them, but love nonetheless.
While it is striking at first to hear God say, “Jacob I loved, Esau I hated,” it is a way of illustrating that God’s relationship with his people has always been based on his grace, not their goodness. He will continue to have that as the foundation of his relationship with them/us.
It is in grateful response to God’s mercy and love that we live obedient lives.
Questions for Discussion/Reflection:
- How does it change how you hear a strong word of correction from someone if you know they love you?
- What are ways God has shown his love and faithfulness to his people through the Bible?
- What are ways God has shown his love in your life?
- How does pondering the love prompt you to respond in your current situation in life?
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The vision of Ozark Christian College is to glorify God by evangelizing the lost and edifying Christians worldwide. The mission of Ozark Christian College is to train men and women for Christian service as a degree-granting institution of biblical higher education.