It’s hard to wait—especially when that wait is open-ended. At 1st we’re edgy & restless,
glancing at a watch, adjusting hair & clothing, looking past the door. Then irritation builds.
We’re annoyed at the delay. We snap or complain to people nearby. Finally, we stop
waiting. We move on with our schedules but with less precision & enthusiasm. We give
up. We believe that what we were waiting for will never happen.
The people of Malachi’s era were in a period of waiting. Tragic & wonderful events had
happened in the past. Their ancestors had heard the prophets warn of godlessness over &
over—with no lasting reform. They had seen their kings subjected, then murdered, their
beautiful 300-year old temple destroyed, their farms pillaged & burned, their friends
hustled away as prisoners. They had spent 70 years living in Babylon under foreign rule.
But all that ended. Through the generosity of a Persian king (& God’s own kindness), the
Hebrew people returned to their homeland. With the help of Ezra & Nehemiah they rebuilt
their homes, city walls & temple. They cleared their farmland & slowly resumed life as a
worshiping people. Except for 1 thing. Where was God? They made the usual temple
sacrifices, but saw no evidence of his presence. What did they expect? Freedom, from
poverty? Miracles? Shouting prophets? International respect? God himself? We cannot
know. But as the wait grew long, the people grew lax. They married pagans. They took
shortcuts in worship & sacrifices. They exploited the weak & poor among them. They
prayed—& couldn’t understand why God ignored their prayers.
Then God sent Malachi with a message. God would visit his people, Malachi explained. But
they must prepare for his coming. & with these final words of the OT, God showed his
people how to wait. When he spoke again, it would be with the startling cry of the infant
It’s great to be back with you all, after a couple of weeks away. We’re starting a new series
on the Book of Malachi this Sunday morning. I’d love us as a church to study this incredible book.
I want to challenge you all, to read this book once a week until the series is over;
I’m also going to write a bible study & have it printed at the front of the bulletin.