In our last visit be began a study of the book of Malachi, the last book in the Old Testament. The prophet Malachi’s name means “my messenger.” He probably prophesied between the time Nehemiah built the wall around Jerusalem and his return after going back to where he had lived in exile. His message was similar to issues Ezra and Nehemiah dealt with.
What amazed me was how fast after returning from their exile the Israelites reverted to practices that caused them to go into exile. Reflecting on this I became aware we do the same thing. That’s one good reason to read and study this book carefully so we don’t fall into the same trap they did.
I decided to study the book using what I call the “4S” approach: spread, sort, structure, summarize.
After reading the book a number of times I began to spread out what I found before me. Words like love, honor, and respect were contrasted with words like contempt, compromise, cheating and defilement. Warnings of judgment and dire consequences were contrasted by promises of protection, restoration and blessing.
After reflecting on all these themes I tried sorting the information I’d gathered under four headings which became the main points in the outline I structured under the title: How to experience God’s love, blessing and freedom. More on this in our next visit.