The book of Malachi is the last book of the Old Testament and named after its author, a prophet who lived around 430 B.C. Although written about 540 years after Solomon became king of Israel, his influence was still impacting the nation. Solomon followed the ways of the Lord—at first—and everything he did was successful. He built the first temple in Jerusalem and ruled for 40 years. Along with great wisdom, God gave him wealth, power, and recognition. But eventually, Solomon let the ways of the world interfere in his relationship with God. He had hundreds of wives described as foreign princesses from pagan nations, and his wives turned his heart after other gods (1 Kings 11:4), gods to whom he built temples and worshiped.
Probably the worst thing that happened in the years following Solomon’s reign was that he had passed his immoral living to his children and the next generations of Israelites. They forgot the God who truly loved and nurtured them and their covenant with Him. By the time of Malachi, the once faithful nation had given way to spiritual apathy. Israel struggled to believe that God loved them (Malachi 1:2) and refused to account for their sinful deeds.
I believe Malachi was trying to tell the people to repent and return to the ways of the Lord. He wrote about the corruption of the temple sacrifices and how Israel had fallen short of its covenant with Him. In our memory verse, God tells us through Malachi that if we bring to the Lord what is required, He will provide everything we need and more.
While writing this devotion, I thought about my giving habits. Am I giving my first fruits, or do I give from what is left over? Do I glorify God by volunteering not only money and time but by being bold in sharing my faith with others?
We could compare our lives today to Solomon’s time. We also live in a wealthy nation, and many of us have been prosperous. As we grow older, let us not do as Solomon did and forget our loving God and His generosity. Do not allow the rampant idols of today’s world to take His place in our hearts, for the cost would be great. If we keep God first in our lives, He has promised to “throw open the floodgates of heaven” with an outpouring of blessings.
by Bob Lorenz