"Then those who feared the Lord talked with each other, and the Lord listened and heard. A scroll of remembrance was written in His presence concerning those who feared and honored His Name." (NIV)
Have you ever been talking to someone, only to realize that they haven't heard you at all? This person could be your spouse, or your best friend, or a coworker, or anybody. Their intentions might be good... but, the phone rings, or a child hollers, "Mommy", or there is a knock at the door. Or, they might be distracted by their own thoughts. Or tired. Who knows... But God always listens and hears. Always. This "3:16" begins by referring to the fact that God listened and heard as His people were talking with each other. God is eternal and unchanging, so He still listens and hears us today.
Malachi delivered the Lord's message at a time when most of God's people were disobeying and disregarding the ten commandments, providing poor religious training for their children, and withholding tithes and offerings from God. (Sound familiar?) God, in His great patience and mercy, wanted to remind His people of their need to repent. Thus, He spoke to Malachi, assigning him with the task of speaking the message of repentance to the people. The book of Malachi forms a bridge between the Old and New Testaments - which I prefer to call the Old Covenant and the Renewed Covenant. (I will expound on that in tomorrow's post.)
Because of His amazing love, God presented us with a plan - the New Covenant.. We don't deserve it. We certainly can't earn it. He gives His love with a capital "L" to all those who will open their hearts and receive it. Just as He gave His message to His people through prophets such as Malachi, he gave us His plan of redemption through His only Son, Jesus the Messiah.
Absolutely nothing is known about the prophet Malachi except the fact that the Lord spoke to him and he delivered the prophesy to God's people. Isn't it interesting how God takes the most ordinary people and uses them? Often, He takes the ornery and unworthy folks, makes them the object of His love, and uses them for His glory!
Maybe even someone like me...