Why the Book of Malachi for this time? Malachi offers a peek into the souls and moods of Israelite men and women. In fact, Malachi’s words are perfectly timed to provide encouragement at a time when God’s people doubted His love for them. The Israelites were centered on their lamentable plight and denied owning up to any displeasing conduct. Hope is a fitting finale to a very trying season in 2020. Many people are troubled, some dealing with loss and grief, and all of us could use a bit of hope. There is a better day coming. And that better day is not based on the outcome of the election, the return of income, or even better health.
Hope Is the Core of Faith
We often misunderstand hope. We think of Christian hope as wishful thinking or some utopian fantasy. Hope is more robust because it is rooted in the power of the divine. Hope reminds us that with God, the possibilities are incredible. When life is at its worst, at its lowest point, hope is the fuel that feeds faith. Paul said, “If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied” (1 Corinthians 15:19).
The people of Israel have a history that repeats itself: they failed over and over, but God lovingly called them to return to Him. “Your words have been hard against Me, says the LORD. But you say, ‘How have we spoken against You?’ You have said, ‘It is vain to serve God. What is the profit of our keeping His charge or of walking as in mourning before the LORD of hosts?’” (Malachi 3:13–14). The desire for deep-rooted faith and confidence in God is demonstrated in people who are deficient in these traits, which are forever linked. No matter our circumstances, no matter the challenges that lie ahead, a strong confidence in the Lord concerning the future encourages us to move forward. As we press ahead, it grows.
Our Hope Is Grounded in God’s Past Faithfulness
Later in the book, the prophet uses the word remember: “Remember the law of My servant Moses, the statutes and rules that I commanded him at Horeb for all Israel” (Malachi 4:4). The Lord is the ultimate provider; He gives us all we need. He already has dreams, goals, and directions for your life and the lives of those around you. Don’t worry! Hope is grounded in God’s past faithfulness.
A Hope Grounded in the Future Glory
David wrote, “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble” (Psalm 46:1). We rejoice in the eternal truth that Christian hope is everlasting. For the believer, even though the path may be difficult now, the best is yet to come.
Psalm 46 continues,
Therefore, we will not fear though the earth gives way,
though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea,
though its waters roar and foam,
though the mountains tremble at its swelling. (vv. 2–3)
The final verses of Malachi remind us that faith is the way to hope-filled living. God intervenes in human history now as much as ever. Malachi is a reminder to believers to anticipate God’s saving work through our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. With that as our backdrop, we run, not walk, into 2021, filled with confidence and hope that come from knowing Jesus still sits on the throne.
Study the Book of Malachi this year to see how your faith is a beautiful foundation of hope in your Savior.