All of us benefit from good counseling, whether it’s marital counseling, financial counseling, or simply getting advice from a friend.
But imagine sitting down and having a counseling session with God Himself? That’s the format of the book of Malachi.
It’s a unique approach in Scripture, as Malachi shares the back-and-forth conversations God wanted to have with His children at the end of the Old Testament.
Malachi appeared on the scene almost a century after Haggai and Zechariah. The spiritual life of Israel had declined in the interval, and Malachi spoke about bored priests, blemished sacrifices, and hard-hearted people who were just going through the motions of worship.
Malachi’s prophecy is written in the form of a dialogue between God and the people of Israel, centered on six issues.
These six arguments and their subject matter provide a general outline for the book, as Malachi deals with:
- God’s love for Israel;
- the people’s careless approach to worship;
- the nation’s careless view of marriage;
- the injustice that filled the land;
- the sin of withholding tithes; and
- God’s intention to judge sinners and reward the faithful.
These areas are as relevant to us as to the people of Malachi’s day; and as we read his book, we need to put ourselves in the counseling chair and hear the Lord say to us and to our land as He said in Malachi 3:7:
“…Return unto me, and I will return unto you, saith the Lord of hosts…”
Spiritual apathy is a dangerous condition, one we must guard against with all our hearts.
“Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it” (Mal 3:10).
We must return with fervor to the Lord, to genuine worship, to high moral values, to marital commitment, and to the practices of tithing and godly fellowship.