When we think of the Old Testament Prophets we rarely think of them as the spokesmen for God’s love. We most frequently see them as the pronouncers of God’s coming judgment. However, to do so would miss one of the most important aspects of their messages. The last book and the last prophet of the Old Testament remind us of God’s love despite our failure. This really is the central theme of this book.

God’s people had become satisfied with the superficial worship experiences they had. Everything looked OK from the outside; they had the land again, a city, the walls had been rebuilt, the temple was up and running and the sacrificial system had been reestablished. In reality however, their worship was an outward sham. Instead of the best of their flocks they offered the blind, sick and the lame. They pretended to worship God by offering Him the parts of their lives that were least desirable. Malachi was burdened by their stubborn, rebellious hearts. No amount of preaching, teaching, and encouraging could awaken them to the depth of God’s love for them and the kind of response that love called for from man.

God is referred to twenty times in Malachi as “The Lord of hosts,” a majestic name of military leadership, but more than that. It’s often translated as “The Lord of Heaven’s Armies.” It means that the Lord is the one who commands all the forces of the universe. Joy awaits His orders. Peace is ready in His hands. Success is stored in His warehouse and given at His discretion. This is what David meant when he informed Goliath on the battle field, “You come to me with a sword, with a spear, and with a javelin. But I come to you in the name of the LORD of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied.”

Like the Israelites, we too rebel and our worship becomes a sham as well. Yet, His first words to us are “I have loved you…”

“God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8