It is believed Malachi prophesied after the exiled Israelites had returned home and the wall and the Temple had been rebuilt. Sacrifices had been resumed. They seemed secure but were still under Persian dominance. The people had become disillusioned because some of the prophecies of wealth and independence had not been fulfilled. The prevailing thought was “God did not love them so why serve Him?” The priests who were responsible for the spiritual well-being of the people were now corrupt. They did not teach the people the laws of God. They did not insist that the people obey the laws of God. The sacrifices to God had become less than their best and had become just something to do to say we observed the ritual, but did nothing to reverence God. Why sacrifice if what you are sacrificing is defective or of poor quality?. And they stopped tithing.
As I read about these conditions, I felt Malachi could have been talking directly to us. Many of us are disillusioned and don’t believe God loves us. We don’t see His promises being fulfilled in our lives or so we think. Church is just something to do to check off the box.Oh and what beautiful buildings they are. Many of us who say we believe don’t really reverence God. We don’t give Him our best. We give Him inferior sacrifices and complain about tithing. We, too, have corrupt priests, preachers, pastors. They don’t teach God’s laws or guide us to righteousness. They teach “getting all you can and give it to me.”
Here is the LORD of Host’s answer through Malachi to Israel and to Us.
I do love you. You are still here. I haven’t destroyed you.
To the priests, et al. I am not pleased with you. You bring me defective offerings and I will not accept them.
Paraphrase: You despised my name among the nations. You profaned the offering.You gave to me less than your best and I won’t accept it.
I am a great King.
My name (my position, authority and character) will be reverenced.