My husband and I have studied Malachi several times. Instead of just writing this as an article, I chose to present it to you as a study. You need your Bible so you can read along.
Malachi 1:1-5 shows us God's great love for Israel.
Verses 6-14 He tells how the priests have dishonored the Lord.
There is a pattern in how God speaks to the priests and how they respond to him, it begins like this:
V. 6.."O priests that despise my name and ye say", "Wherein have we despised thy name?"
This follows a pattern throughout the entire book of Malachi.
Malachi 2:1, "And now O ye priests, this commandment is FOR YOU" (caps by me)
Read Ch 2: 1-7 to see how God feels about them
Malachi 2:8-9 now he rebukes them.
2:10-16 describes their treachery
v 17 shows that pattern again,
"Ye have wearied the Lord with your words, Yet ye say, "Wherein have we wearied Him?"
Malachi Chapter 3 shows that He will send his messenger. he says in verse 1 that 'he shall prepare the way before me'..we know that John was called to prepare the way for the Lord.
v 1 also says The Lord of this temple shall come suddenly..the messenger of the covenant.
Verses 2-4 tells us that He is coming to refine...to purge that they may offer an offering of righteousness, so it would be pleasant to the Lord as in the days of old.
Beginning in 3:5 he describes His judgment upon the priests. They did not take care of the widows, fatherless, and strangers. Read through to verse 7 where he says to return to Him and He will return to them and they ask again (the pattern is here too)
"Wherein shall we return?"
Remember he is still talking to the priests. He has been.... all through this book.
and again in verse 8 He says they have robbed him and they say (here's the pattern again)
"Wherein have we robbed thee?"
He say to the PRIESTS, "In tithes and offerings."
v 9 he tells them their punishment " YE are cursed with a curse" He is still talking to the Priests.
He goes on to say, "Ye have robbed me, even this whole nation" in Hebrew it says, "הַגֹּ֖וי כֻּלֹּֽו׃ " which is "The Whole Nation"
The priests were robbing God and the whole nation. Looking back it shows that they were supposed to be caring for the widows, fatherless, and strangers.
Verses 10-12 He gives them a promise...to show mercy and grace if they come back to him and do as He asks.
in Verse 13: He continues with rebuke.Read the verses..it still shows the pattern..
"What have we spoken so much against you?"
finish reading through to verse 15.
In Verse 16, God tells the priests that the people were talking to one another about all this. God heard them and kept everything they said in a book of remembrance.
CAUTION to those who call themselves religious leaders.....He is still speaking this message to you today. Are you taking care of the people's needs? or are you more concerned with building a social center?
Finish reading the rest of chapter 3 and then finish with chapter 4 where he again tells the priests there SHALL be a burning someday. He offers mercy if they turn to him and consequences if they do not.
I do not believe this burning is about hell. I believe, in the context of the passage, that he is talking about a refining and purging of the method of giving and providing for the people.
When Jesus came to die and rise again, he taught a different message to His people. He began to teach them to bring of their abundance so the elders, pastors, and apostles could freely disperse all the giving to those that he ALWAYS wanted to provide for. In the NT we are told that as the Believers lived THIS way..(giving of their abundance) that the people had no lack and they lived equally. What the priests would NOT do when the people were TRUSTING them with their tithes and offerings, Jesus Christ handed over to the people. They had cried out to him about their lack and He has given to US the opportunity to provide for one another.
This does not mean we are to pay for lazy people to live off of us. We are definitely to work, but sometimes bad stuff happens to good people and they need help. Most churches today lack in this area. How many widows do you know that are living in squander on a measly amount of SSI and go without help at home, or a house keeper to help her? What about kids whose fathers left them? Do they have clothing and school supplies?
Why is the government having to do what WE ARE SUPPOSED TO DO? If we each did as God leaned upon our hearts to do...in compassion...he will bless! Can each one of us find someone in need and commit to helping them with SOMETHING?
The message given from God, through Malachi, to the priests, because the people were crying out to Him in their need.
What were those priests doing? What were they thinking? Why did they have to keep asking God (paraphrase) "What did WE do wrong?" I believe they were so blinded by their own selfish desires, they failed to see the need for the people. Are we walking in the priest's shoes today? Are the religious leaders of today consuming the offerings of the people for themselves and the religious buildings while the widows, fatherless, and strangers go without? Or has the government been making it easy for you to live selfishly while SSI and welfare takes care of them?
I encourage to read more about New Testament Giving.
Sisterlisa is a homeschooling mom of four children and married to an evangelist who travels to bring the gospel to those in need of our Savior. She is the owner of Growing in Grace Magazine and AGMinistries.