First, a confession. I am NOT an Old Testament aficionado. I love history so I really like reading Genesis through part of Exodus. Then I like moving from Joshua to Esther. I tire of Job’s friends so most generally skip to Psalms and love reading Song of Solomon. From there on it gets dicey. I have a love/hate relationship with the prophets. I like reading parts of them, while other parts just…well…yawning is a good word. I know, I know, a pastor shouldn’t say that! But I say that because I want you to get a proper perspective on why it would take a pretty good book on one of the prophetic books to keep me reading. I am happy to say that this book by Pastor Jerry Marshall (aka “the author” from here on) did just that.
The author’s main premise can be seen in two statements:
One, “the book of Malachi has taught me that there is another mindset that can greatly diminish my devotion to the Lord. It occurs when I find myself disappointed with God.” (p.ii). The other is found in the statement, “the most important thing you think is what you think about God, and that your thinking must be a reflection of God’s self-disclosure found in His Word.” (p.iii) The author spend the rest of his book showing how those two statements hold true.
I like what Pastor Jerry does. This is not a scholarly book, so if you are looking for a verse-by-verse commentary, you will not find that here. What you will find is practical, everyday application of God’s Words through Malachi to life situations. An oracle is a prophetic speech, an utterance or a declaration. The Hebrew word that is translated oracle is Massa‘ which literally refers to a burden. Knowing that helps the author develop Malachi’s 4 short chapters into understanding the danger of being disappointed with God. I really like how the author makes the truths applicable in every day life. One of the valuable attributes is his proficient use of Scripture in relating Malachi to other parts of the Bible. The author shows how Malachi’s message is a contemporary one for us today.
My love/hate relationship with OT prophets continued, because at times I felt my mind not “staying with” what he was writing. That probably stays more about my state of mind when reading, than it does the content.
All in all, I would recommend this book to the pastor looking for a contemporary rendering of the book of Malachi, and also to the student of the Bible who is looking for a better understanding of this last book of the OT. For another review check out this link. This book was offered to me by the publisher and was given with no remuneration or guarantee of a positive review.