Memory Text: “‘My name will be great among the nations, from the rising to the setting of the sun. In every place incense and pure offerings will be brought to my name, because my name will be great among the nations,’ says the Lord Almighty’” (Malachi 1:11, NIV).
Key Thought: Malachi teaches us the extent of God’s commitment to His people but also points to their sacred responsibilities.
Malachi’s name means my messenger. We know nothing about him except that which we can glean from his short book, which brings the section of the Old Testament called the Minor Prophets (or The Book of the Twelve) to an end. His is also the last book of the Old Testament.
The central message of Malachi is that while God had revealed His love for His people throughout their history, that love also made His people accountable to Him. The Lord expected the chosen nation and its leaders to obey His commands. Though open idolatry apparently had vanished (the book appears to have been written for Jews who had returned from Babylonian captivity), the people were not living up to the expectations of the covenant. Though they were going through the motions of religious observance, it was a dry formalism without heartfelt conviction.
May we as a church take heed!
Study this week’s lesson to prepare for Sabbath, June 29.