See, the day is coming, burning like an oven, when all the arrogant and all evildoers will be
stubble; the day that comes shall burn them up, says the Lord of hosts, so that it will leave them
neither root nor branch. But for you who revere my name the sun of righteousness shall rise, with
healing in its wings. You shall go out leaping like calves from the stall. And you shall tread down
the wicked, for they will be ashes under the soles of your feet, on the day when I act, says the Lord
Remember the teaching of my servant Moses, the statutes and ordinances that I commanded him
at Horeb for all Israel. Lo, I will send you the prophet Elijah before the great and terrible day of the Lord comes.
Much of this final and very short book of the OT speaks to us even now in 2021. Malachi is speaking to a people who were fed up, disillusioned and disappointed. Things were not going the way they had expected. They had assumed that, after years of exile, their return to the promised land would herald prosperity and peace for them as God's chosen nation. This hadn't happened and they blamed God.
They felt that they had been neglected and forgotten by God, so in return they began to neglect Him and became careless in their religious lives. They ignored the laws that had been set down for them by Moses. The Temple and all that it had stood for was now held in contempt. These people clearly needed a serious wake-up call, or, as in some earlier words of Malachi, they needed to meet the God who is like a "refiner's fire"(Mal 3:2).
So, Malachi is sent to spell out to his people the dangers of ignoring God and his Covenant; but the wonderful part of this dreadful warning is that it ends with hope and a promise: their unchanging God believes in them, thinks they are worth saving and promises a prophet who will lead them to better things. A fitting end to the Old Testament.
Unchanging God of hope and restoration, renew and restore our minds when we are distracted by personal and societal circumstances. Strengthen and direct our minds to your Word so that we can become beacons of hope and love in our confused world. Give us the courage and discipline to continually seek your renewal in our lives. In the name of Jesus, we ask this. Amen,