These three short, prophetic Old Testament books each contain a dual message. On one hand are messages of impending judgement—for all peoples on the Day of the Lord, for an enemy of Israel, and for Israel herself. On the other hand are messages of great hope—of the pouring out of God’s Spirit, of restoration and renewal, and of a coming Messiah.
Placing judgement and hope together in such a manner may seem paradoxical to a contemporary mindset. But the complete message of these prophets gives a fuller picture of God, who despises and rightly judges sin and rebellion, but who also lovingly invites people to return to him so that he might bestow his wonderful grace and blessings. It’s a message no less timely today than when these books were first written, and David W. Baker skillfully bridges the centuries in helping believers today understand and apply it.
“God expected sacrifices and offerings to be taken from his good gifts and returned to him. They represented one’s love, loyalty, honor, and, at times, sorrow for sin and wrongdoing (see Lev. 1–7). They showed an inner commitment to the covenant relationship between God and people, not arising from duty but from devotion. When duty replaces devotion, however, human nature is such that it seeks minimum steps, barely enough to meet an obligation. This contrasts with a true love relationship, seeking to do the maximum for the beloved. Israel, and in particular her priests, are seen here having lost their first love.” (Page 226)
“In other words, the speaker disputes God’s love based on the sad situation in which they find themselves, having returned from exile to a ruined and as yet unrestored land (see Haggai and Zechariah, where divine promises are as yet unfulfilled visibly).” (Page 219)
“Not only do the priests of Malachi’s day pervert themselves, they do so to those in their charge, in contrast to Levi.” (Page 245)
“It thus appears, rather than a ‘name it and claim it’ approach to God, to be more appropriate to have a ‘live it’ theology: Act as a child of God and you will be treated as one.” (Page 291)
“Malachi is unique in the Old Testament because of its form—a dispute or diatribe between God and those of his people who have become apathetic or even antagonistic to him.” (Page 205)
This is the pulpit commentary for the twenty-first century.
—George K. Brushaber, president, Bethel College and Seminary
The NIV Application Commentary meets the urgent need for an exhaustive and authoritative commentary based on the New International Version. This series will soon be found in libraries and studies throughout the evangelical community.
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It is encouraging to find a commentary that is not only biblically trustworthy but also contemporary in its application. The NIV Application Commentary will prove to be a helpful tool in the pastor’s sermon preparation. I use it and recommend it.
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The tools, ideas, and insights contained in this volume will help preachers communicate God’s Word and understand the Gospel in the context of contemporary culture, and the exegetical, literary, and grammatical summaries will benefit scholars and students of the Bible. What’s more, with Logos, Scripture passages are linked to Greek and Hebrew texts, along with English translations, and the powerful search tools provide instant access to the information you need for research projects, sermon preparation, and personal study.