Dec 18th - Malachi
Today is filled with people who were children of kings and chieftains, people of privilege, power, and status. They were also people of holiness. But I will take today and point again to our Hebrew forefathers in Faith, this time the prophet Malachi.
It is fitting, as we bring this year to a close, to honor the last prophet in the Hebrew Scriptures. It is also fitting that we should be reminded of his message so close to the time of coming.
Our attitudes at this time of year can run parallel to the season itself. We speak of repentance and anticipation but we live carelessly and with selfish focus. We allow ourselves to be overcome with the minutia of commercialism and forget the joy that should be ours.
So it was for Israel; so it can be for the rich and powerful, especially as highlighted in the priests. We too become complacent in God's goodness. Malachi is a 'minor prophet' meaning that his book is very short, and as the shortest, is last. He was probably not the last of the prophets but he is the last we hear from in Scripture before the Christian Scriptures begin. His focus reveals the attitudes and behaviors of the Jewish community just a few generations after the end of the Babylonian exile, when God has restored them to Israel and the Temple. He also expounds upon God’s response to that complacency.
So like the many saints today who could have lived lives of complacency, Malachi calls us as he calls Israel, to change our ways and appreciate and return to God the love that He gives to us.
What a fitting message for Advent!
A son honors his father, and a servant fears his master; If, then, I am a father, where is the honor due to me? And if I am a master, where is the fear due to me? So says the LORD of hosts to you, O priests, who disdain my name. But you ask, “How have we disdained your name?”...
So now implore God’s favor, that he may have mercy on us! You are the ones who have done this; Will he show favor to any of you? says the LORD of hosts....
From the rising of the sun to its setting, my name is great among the nations; Incense offerings are made to my name everywhere, and a pure offering; For my name is great among the nations, says the LORD of hosts....
You say, “See what a burden this is!” and you exasperate me, says the LORD of hosts; You bring in what is mutilated, or lame, or sick; you bring it as an offering! Will I accept it from your hands? says the LORD....
You have wearied the LORD with your words, yet you say, “How have we wearied him?” By saying, “All evildoers are good in the sight of the LORD, And he is pleased with them,” or “Where is the just God?”...
Now I am sending my messenger— he will prepare the way before me; And the lord whom you seek will come suddenly to his temple; The messenger of the covenant whom you desire— see, he is coming! says the LORD of hosts.
-- Malachi 1:6,9,11-12,13; 2:17; 3:1
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