“O Christian! Do not falter, the harvest field is white, and many souls are sinking into eternal night.”

William E. Penn

TODAY’S READING: Malachi

The name Malachi means “my messenger” and was not a proper noun in Hebrew. In other words, an anonymous prophet could very well have written the book of Malachi. Malachi is mentioned nowhere else in Scripture. We’re not even certain when he prophesied, though it is likely he did so after the exiled people returned as he referred to them having a governor, not a king (Mal. 1:8). His prophecies are priestly in tone (which probably did not endear him to the priests of the day) and missionary in spirit.

In one sense, Malachi was an angry prophet. He was angry that priests were corrupt, angry at familial and national infidelity, angry that man robbed God (for witness among the nations is lost when man is stingy with God’s blessings), and angry at those who complain (2:1–2, 10–17, 3:8–15). But in another sense Malachi was full of hope, that on the other side of all this selfish rebellion, God still had His jewels (3:17) that He would use as His currency, spending them where and how He will to woo the nations to Himself.

A nameless prophet taking up the great missionary theme of the Bible—the name of Jehovah made great among the nations. In this sense Malachi lived out what we should all aspire to: Preach the gospel, die, and be forgotten. There is only one name that shall endure, for “says the Lord of hosts, ‘And My name is to be feared among the nations’” (1:14). Christopher Wright comments on this: “We can say then, with a broad range of textual support, that a significant part of Israel’s eschatological hope in relation to the nations was that ultimately they would bring their worship to YHWH, the one living God of all the earth. And again we must add that such a vision constitutes a major strand within a biblical theology of mission, for it is the indefatigable mission of God—a mission in which He invites our participation—to bring such universal worship of the nations to joyful reality.”[1]

The Old Testament ends with the book of Malachi (as the canon has appropriately arranged). Prophetic duty called God’s people to repent from sin and saw with increasing clarity that sin would only be dealt with when Messiah came. The prophets increasingly turned their gaze to the horizon of Messianic advent, longing, hoping for the One who would deal with sin and set up a kingdom that included all peoples, a kingdom in which sin would no longer curse us and holiness would define us. We are reminded that God has not changed and He never will (3:6). God has the glorified passion to bless all peoples of earth with His majestic presence. He longs to give us what most satisfies us—Himself. He chose a specific person (Abraham) to birth a specific people (Israel) that all the nations might be fulfilled in heavenly eternal life. The invitation to life under the rule of the King is extended to all. It’s how the Old Testament begins and is constituted. It’s how the Old Testament ends. And it’s how the New Testament will begin and end. God is a missionary God. The Bible is a missionary book. We are to be His missionary people.

[1] Christopher J. H. Wright. The Mission of God: Unlocking the Bible’s Grand Narrative. Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic, 2006. 489.

Prayer Focus: Mauritania

Today’s Unreached People Group: Tuareg, Tamasheq
Population: 127,000
Language: Tamasheq
Primary Religion: Islam
Evangelical: 0.0%
Estimated Workers Needed: 3

[Source: Joshua Project]

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