Both Sin and Hope Remain Present in Work (Malachi 1:1-4:6)
In this daily reflection on Malachi 3 from The High Calling, Mark Roberts considers how God's justice is always shaped by his grace and mercy; therefore we can face transitions in our life with hope.
Even in the time of restoration, human sin is never far away. Malachi, the third of the restoration prophets, complains that some of the people begin to profit by defrauding labourers of their wages (Mal. 3:5). Not surprisingly, such people also pollute the temple worship by stinting what they contribute in offerings (Mal. 1:8-19), and as a result the environment is also degraded (Mal. 3:11).
Yet the hope of the prophets remains, and work is at the centre of it. It begins with a promise to restore the religious/social infrastructure of the temple. “See, I am sending my messenger to prepare the way before me, and the Lord whom you seek will suddenly come to his temple. The messenger of the covenant in whom you delight—indeed, he is coming, says the Lord of hosts” (Mal. 3:1). It proceeds with the restoration of the environment. “I will rebuke the locust” (Mal. 3:11a), God promises, and then “you will be a land of delight” (Mal. 3:12). People go about their work ethically (Mal. 3:14, 18), and as a result the economy is restored, including “the produce of your soil” and “your vine in the field” (Mal. 3:11b).