Tag Archives: Malachi

Concluding Thoughts on Malachi

Yesterday, I ended my preaching series on Malachi. Pastor Matt preached one of the sermons, of which I am grateful.  This is the second time I have preached through Malachi; the first being back in 2011 at a church I pastored then.  I must admit, this time it was much more difficult to preach through this book.  There are many reasons why this would be so, but I want to mention three main reasons:

  1. I have a different preaching style now than I had then.  In 2011, my preaching style42505271_1962338703860138_385242529043316736_n was very factual, but not practical.  Today, I think my preaching is much more applicable, while remaining factual.  At least I hope it is. To preach through Malachi, which is very much a “prophetic” book set in the 5th century B. C. (indictments and condemnations of post-exilic Jews), and to apply that to modern lives was quite the challenge.
  2. I have grown as a pastor. I do not say that in any braggadocio way, but simply as a matter of what the Holy Spirit has done in my soul. I have sought to love and care about the people I pastor in the past, but often it was in a buddy-buddy, friendship way.  That isn’t to say that friendships within the church are wrong or bad for pastors, Norris it to say that I do not have friendships within the church, but rather to say that shepherding a people is different than befriending a people.  Shepherding a flock through such a book as Malachi has been heart-wrenching to the soul knowing that much of what is preached may not be liked, may not be appreciated, may not be welcomed, but absolutely is necessary for the good of the people.
  3. I preached through it at a faster rate. I don’t recall how many weeks I spent in 2011 going through this book, but this time, we only spent 6 weeks in Malachi.  There was a lot to cover and not much time to do so.  I probably wearied many a person with my near hour-long sermons, and for that I apologize. I would venture to say that Malachi would probably be an 8 or 9 week series.  As someone said once, the mind can absorb only as much as the seat can endure. I was well aware of how long my sermons were going to be before ever stepping into the pulpit (in fact, I told Pastor Matt just before service one day that the sermon would be about 5 minutes shorter than the previous week. After looking at the video length it was just over 5 minutes shorter). Every Sunday I stepped into the pulpit fully aware that service would go late, and no matter what people say, they eventually get tired of services ending later than expected.

That being said, preaching through Malachi developed some doctrines for me, personally. That means that I cannot be wishy-washy on certain subjects and toss it up to the fact that I hadn’t had time to study this or that.  It strengthened my convictions on other doctrines as well.  I hope and pray that I was faithful to the text, and I hope and pray that God’s name was magnified.  “For from the rising of the sun to its setting my name will be great among the nations, and in every place incense will be offered to my name, and a pure offering. For my name will be great among the nations, says the LORD of hosts,” (Malachi 1:11, ESV).

God is Worth It All

The Psalmist tells us that God neither slumbers nor sleeps, but neither does God forget. God has an impeccable memory. He remembers everything perfectly. And yet, we often see that writers of biblical books tell us that God remembered people, whether it was Noah or the people of Israel or someone else.  It would seem as if God got busy doing something else in this universe, forgot about those whom He called to His work, and suddenly heard a faint crying, and realized that there were still people waiting on Him to do something.  But that isn’t what it means when we read that God remembered them. What it does mean is that God is about to act on their behalf for their good. In other words, God is about to bless them mightily. This typically happens after, what seems like to us and them, a long period where God seems quiet or inactive, as if He has forgotten them. Not only did it seem as if God had forgotten them, but that He had forgotten all they had done for Him.

Now, as we study this last portion of Malachi, I want us to see that these were the types of accusations Israel is making against God, but these accusations are simply unfounded.  The people in Malachi’s day tended to live by sight and not by faith. We probably can relate to them. It’s hard to ignore what we see and hope in what we don’t se. And yet that is what hope and faith are all about. The writer of Hebrews wrote, “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen,” (Hebrews 11.1, ESV).  Many of us know that verses, but one that may be less familiar comes out of Romans 8, where Paul wrote, “For in this hope we were saved, Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience,” (Romans 8.24-25, ESV).  Faith and hope are all about living by faith rather than by sight.

The people in Malachi’s day and the believers in our day often have the same issue: wanting to know God has not forgotten about them with real-time evidence. God wanted those in Malachi’s day and the believers in our day to trust His promises. He who was always faithful will always be faithful.

So as we finish Malachi, my hope is that we will see the lie that confronted them and us. Then my hope is that we will trust in the truth combatting the lies which have fortified themselves within our minds and souls. Finally, I hope we will take a look at the proof that supports the truth—mainly because we have something that the people of Israel did not have in their day.

Watch the video for full sermon.