Behold, I send my messenger, and he will prepare the way before me. And the Lord whom you seek will suddenly come to his temple; and the messenger of the covenant in whom you delight, behold, he is coming, says the LORD of hosts. (Malachi 3:1 ESV)
Following the 70-year Exile, God stirred the heart of Cyrus king of Persia to send Israelites back to rebuild Jerusalem. The LORD uses men like Ezra and Nehemiah to lead the people in reestablishing their home in Israel. During those final years of rebuilding the city, God sent the prophet Malachi to speak to His people. Malachi’s words are situated at the end of the Old Testament because after him, God would not send another prophet to declare the Word of God for around 400 years.
In this short book, God declares through Malachi that before “the Lord whom you seek” comes, He will send His messenger to prepare the way. The Lord being discussed is the long-awaited Messiah, and God promises that He is still coming. Though humanity has waited thousands of years for Him, the Serpent-Crusher would come suddenly, having His way prepared by a messenger.
Jesus clearly affirms that His cousin, John the Baptist, was the messenger described here (Matt. 11:10). After 400 years of silence from God following Malachi, the LORD raised up John to prepare the way for the Messiah, and the Lord did come. It is fitting that God would close out the Old Testament with one last promise that He would send the Christ, that He would be faithful to fulfill all of His promises made throughout the generations.
Like Malachi reminded the people of God’s faithfulness when God seemed slow to act, in what ways do you similarly recall the faithfulness of God?