For thou art not a God that hath pleasure in wickedness: neither shall evil dwell with thee.
Key Verse Thought: Read today’s key verse. We are to remember that God does not like sin, and sin cannot stand in God’s presence. For that reason, God continually sent prophets to warn His people when they disobeyed God’s commands. In this lesson, will learn about the last prophet God sent to His people in the Old Testament – the final warning before a four hundred year silence of no new word from God to His people.
Emphasis: Christians are not to practice a religion as the priests in Malachi’s day were doing, but to live obeying God’s Word. Although going to church is very important (as we have learned), it is most important to live according to God’s Word. We should also have Christian friends to encourage us, and we should encourage them
Lesson Summary: In our last lesson, we learned the condition of God’s people when Nehemiah returned to Jerusalem. God’s people, including the priests, had fallen deeply into sin. Nehemiah once again corrected the sin and prayed.
God sent Malachi with a message for His people, beginning with the priests who were just practicing a religion and not serving God according to His Word. The priests, and then the people, had fallen into sin once again. As we will learn, Malachi dealt with many of the same sins that Nehemiah dealt with in the lives of God’s people. Malachi was the last voice to God’s people before about four hundred years of silence.
God had Malachi remind the Jews of the great love God had for His people. The memory of Jacob and Esau was recalled – the love of Jacob and the hatred for Esau. Jacob loved and sought after the things of God, and Esau hated and despised the people and things of God. Yet, God’s people were not living as His people – for they sinned and did not even recognize how great their sin had become. God had a poignant question for them. “A son honoureth his father, and a servant his master: if then I be a father, where is mine honour? and if I be a master, where is my fear? …” (Malachi 1:6). The people needed Malachi to show them how far from God they had fallen. Nevertheless, a few people still feared God. God saw that they encouraged each other often. God knew them and wrote them in a special book of remembrance. Remember, God knows the heart.
We will not only learn of the condition of God’s people and the words of correction, but the promises of which God reminded His people – especially the promise of the Promised One, Jesus.
Malachi was not only the last prophet call to God’s people before the four hundred years of silence, but also that call ended with a promise of a curse.
We will learn a few details of the four hundred years of silence that came after Malachi, discovering some of the changes that took place among God’s people.
If you are teaching this to children, the following is a craft idea to reinforce this lesson.
We made a “Book of Remembrance” to help us understand the importance of fearing the Lord and thinking upon Him.