Fighting spiritual boredom- Thursday, 27th week in ordinary time- Malachi 3: 13-20b
Malachi is the last of the twelve prophets and is the final book of the Old Testament in its present ordering. The book is described as an oracle, or burden. The message of this book is addressed to ‘Israel’; the word being used here is used in its broad sense to encompass all the chosen people of God.
Malachi, simply means, ‘my messenger’. Hence, many interpreters have supposed that Malachi is simply a title for an otherwise anonymous prophet, the title indicating clearly enough the prophetic function. But it is also quite possible that Malachi is simply a name, albeit a rare one.
The general period of the prophet’s ministry can be determined from the substance of his writing. The date was approximately 460 B.C. and a little more than half a century had passed from the time of the ministries of men like Haggai and Zechariah who motivated the people to rebuild the temple after the exile.
The rebuilding of the temple, which was so central an issue for the prophet’s predecessors, was now a thing of the past; the restored temple stood and its worship was conducted on a regular basis. However, the chosen people were still a colonial people under the Persian Empire. The Persian rule however was relatively benign and the international situation gave a few grounds for concern.
For all the tranquility of Malachi’s world, it was not a particularly happy time for the chosen people. Times of international crisis bring with them their own stimulus to action and thought, but calmness can dull the spirits and destroy any sense of vitality. Israel floated on these still waters of international calm, with little sense of direction and the collapse of internal discipline.
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