Things come to a head in today’s reading from Malachi: God stirs into action and sends the messenger the people are expecting to prepare the long-awaited day of God’s coming. But the shock is that this will mean refining and judgment before there can be blessing. God’s righteousness has not changed, and neither has the people’s waywardness. The whole biblical story has been building to this climax: time and again in the Old Testament, there have been warnings of the consequences of unfaithful action alongside the promise of blessings for fidelity.
A last plea is made: bring the full tithe into the warehouse so that there is food in God’s house. This food could feed the hungry of the land, just as the women who accompanied Jesus offered their resources to provide for Jesus and his companions (Luke 8:3). In response, God would rebuke the locusts that destroyed their harvests, a promise of restoration previously given through the prophet Joel (Joel 2:18–27).
At the end of the Old Testament, things come full circle from Genesis where God gave humans everything that was good for food (Genesis 1:29; 2:9). God’s provision has never been in doubt because God does not change. Indeed, the psalmist sings that God gives the animals and birds their food (Psalm 147:9); it is only the people’s defiance that has brought them to disaster time and again.
It is timely that we read the parable of the sower in Luke as well as this challenge from God in Malachi. When the sower sows in good soil there is an abundant harvest; when he sows in poor soil there is failure. God has been pleading with the people throughout the biblical story to be that good soil in which righteousness can take root and grow. That promise still holds true centuries later.
What connections can you make between your duty to God and God’s blessing of the world? How would you strengthen those connections?
As you near the end of your journey through the Bible, what themes have you noticed throughout it? How have they been developed as the story unfolds?
Holy God, guide us to sow in good soil and to produce harvests in our lives. Accept the offerings that we bring today, and use them to bring blessing in your world. Amen.