24th September 23 – Malachi

24th September 23 – Malachi



This week we finish our journey through the 12 minor prophets, and the Old Testament.


Which is apt as in a couple of weeks you will start a new journey as a church.


Background and context

According to my ‘who’s who in the Bible’, Malachi was written in the 5th century BC.

The Israelites had returned from exile, and the Temple had been rebuilt –  this was about 50 years after Haggai and Zechariah.

The word ‘Malachi’ means ‘my messenger’

We don’t know if the book was written by a person called Malachi or somebody else who was a messenger from God.

As is a common theme with the Minor Prophets, God is not happy.


Themes in the book

When thinking about this I like to think of the Israelites as the petulant child and God as the loving parent.

God says, ‘you’ve done this wrong’ – the people reply, ‘but what have we done wrong?’

God’s major grievances with the people and the priests are:

The laxity and corruption of the priesthood

People cheating God by not giving him what is due.

Reading: Mal 1:6-8; 3:8-10



In Malachi’s time, religion had become something that was done out of necessity and not done with any real thought about praising God. The people just went through the motions.

They did the bare minimum.

As some of you know I lecture at the uni I studied at, and students would often come and say, ‘what do I need to do to get a pass?’

This is very much like what the people and priests were doing.

They would try to shaft God, for example they sometimes had perfect offspring in their flock but would give God damaged offspring as a sacrifice.

This clearly goes against God’s Law. But the priests allowed it and were complicit.

God’s anger was just. How would you feel if people you loved gave you second best?

God gave the Israelites the best, everything they needed. But they gave him what they thought they could spare.  The scales don’t balance.



So what can we learn in the 21st Century from what Malachi has to say?

You see we sometimes do a similar thing today. Do we really give God all we should? Last week we sang ‘All to Jesus I surrender’ but do we really?

Do we share all our gifts with God?

Or do we hide them?

Do we let other people do things we know we could do, or not do for God the things we want to do?

As I’m sure you know, this is for a while at least my last sermon here, and it’s Helen’s next week.

So my question to you is, what gifts do you have that you can give to God, and to Laindon Baptist Church after Helen and I say ‘see you later’.

 Are you a whizz on the computer?

 Do you have a call to preaching?

 Can you make tea?

 Do you like talking to people?

My point is, everybody has a gift to offer.  No one’s gift is too small, but God gives us his best.  We should give him our best too.

And when we don’t do our best we not only let ourselves down but we let God down.

I’m not saying you have to be the best.

Let’s go and look at the widow Jesus saw in the Temple (Mark 12:41-44)

Jesus sat down opposite the place where the offerings were put and watched the crowd putting their money into the temple treasury.

Many rich people threw in large amounts. But a poor widow came and put in two very small copper coins, worth only a few cents.

Calling his disciples to him, Jesus said, “Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything—all she had to live on.”

She didn’t give all the money that the rich people did but she did give her best.

As I’m writing this sermon I am thinking about how much I don’t like being asked to do readings, because of my dyslexia.  But then I am reminded if I do my best and I am sincere, that’s all God asks for.

It doesn’t have to be perfect as long as you do your best.

Because that’s what God deserves.


As we sing the last song, whilst we take the offering, I invite you to think and pray about what you might give to God as you start this new phase together.


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