6.16.19 - What God Reveals (Travis Derico; Story By Amanda Becker)
SCRIPTURE: Malachi 3:13-18 (1:1-5), 4:1-5
Malachi was a prophet—but Malachi couldn’t see everything God was doing. Malachi’s message resonates through time and across cultures, articulating a set of human failings from which we must also sometimes repent. Yet Malachi reflects ancient Near Eastern notions of honor, shame, vengeance, and sacrifice that we may find more than a little troubling. Malachi looked forward to the day when God will finally bring justice to the world, but Malachi’s concept of justice permits the righteous victor to exult in the humiliation and destruction of his enemies. Malachi knew part of the story of God’s covenant with the children of Israel, but he didn’t know the crucial part of that story: he didn’t know about Jesus. This week we will be thinking about some ways that Malachi’s message is transformed and fulfilled in light of the good news about Jesus—and about how that news might challenge our own claims to see clearly what God is doing.
1. The book of Malachi, as we have seen, is a challenging read. What parts of Malachi have you found most difficult, and why?
2. Malachi was a prophet, but Malachi was not made aware of certain important details concerning what God had planned for Israel. What might this tell us about our own understanding of God’s plans for us?
3. How does knowing the Jesus story inform the way you understand the message of Malachi?
4. How might our own culturally informed beliefs obscure or limit the effectiveness of what we say about Jesus?
5. God could just directly inform every human about his plans and purposes for them, with perfect clarity—so why doesn’t he? Why does God allow us to remain ignorant about so many important matters?