The following lesson was prepared for a small group of students. The students will discover from the Book of Malachi that God loves His people and always keeps His promises. Since He never stops loving us we should give Him our very best.
Bible Passage: Malachi 1-4
Bible Story Title: Malachi reminds Israel of God’s love calling them to repent
Target Age Group: Ages 5-11 (K-5th Grade U.S.A.)
Target Time Frame: 60 Minutes
Original Teaching Context: Sunday School
Supply List: Bibles, pencils/pens, word puzzle, Minor Prophet index cards, minor prophets review worksheets
Learning Goal: Students will learn that since God never stops loving us we should always give Him our best.
Learning Activity #1: Malachi Word Puzzle
Learning Activity #2: Minor Prophets Activity-Place index cards face down with the Minor Prophets on them. Have the students turn them over and put in the correct order.
Test: Review Questions
Memory Verse: Malachi 4:2 “But for you who fear My name, the sun of righteousness shall rise with healing in its wings. You shall go out leaping like calves from the stall.”
Bible Lesson: Malachi reminds Israel of God’s love calling them to repent
(Begin with prayer)
Each of us is holding a copy of the Bible. The Bible is God’s Word to us. The Bible is true. The Bible teaches us about God’s promises and plans for all men, women, boys and girls. Everything that God says He is going to do is going to happen.
As we have studied God’s Word together we have had opportunities to see how God made promises to His people and how He has kept His promises. We have seen how God promised His people that if they would repent and turn away from their sin and turn back to Him, He would forgive them (Joel 2:13). God loves His people and will never stop loving them. Because He loves them He has to punish their sin. The Jewish people ignored the prophets God sent to warn them to turn away from their sin. God kept His word and punished them by sending them to Babylon for 70 years to be prisoners (Jeremiah 25:11). After 70 years God kept His promise to let His people return to Jerusalem. God sent prophets to encourage the Jewish people who returned to their city that was destroyed. He sent prophets like Haggai and Zechariah to remind His people that the Messiah would come and they would finally live peacefully with God’s blessings. God used Ezra and Nehemiah to help rebuild the temple and the walls.
Today we are going to be studying Malachi the last minor prophet in the Old Testament. Let’s open our Bibles and find the Book of Malachi.
The name Malachi means “my messenger”. God had a message for His people. Malachi reminded the people that God loved them. The Jewish people were surprised at Malachi’s message because they said, “How have you loved us?” We don’t know why the Jewish people felt like God didn’t love them. Maybe they felt like God didn’t love them because the Messiah had not come and the promises of peace and God’s blessing were not happening.
God loved His people and was very disappointed that they thought that He didn’t love them. They had seen God’s power, protection and His faithfulness to keep His promises.
God always keeps His promises and never stops loving His people. God was working out His plan to send the Messiah who would rescue His people.
God’s ways are not our ways, and His thoughts are not our thoughts. (Is. 55:8-9) His timing is not like our timing (“with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.” 2 Pet. 3:8). God’s people turned away from God because they could not see what God was doing and decided to believe He stopped loving them.
God sent Malachi to tell them that God loves them very much but is very disappointed with them.
The Jewish people had seen God keep His promise to allow them to return to Jerusalem after 70 years of being in Babylon. He helped them rebuild the temple and the walls were rebuilt in 52 days. However, they returned to wicked, sinful behavior.
Before Jesus came and died on the cross for our sins, the Jewish people were to worship God at the temple and bring sacrifices. The sacrifices and worship at the temple were pictures pointing them to Jesus who would be the perfect sacrifice.
God required His people to bring animals to the priests that were their best. It could not be sick, have broken legs or have anything wrong with it. (Leviticus 22:19-25) Let’s read Malachi 1:8-9, 13. What kind of offerings were the people giving to God? (Lame and sick) How did God feel about their offerings? (They were evil)
God was disappointed with His people because they brought offerings to Him that they would never offer to their rulers/leaders.
God loves us and deserves our very best.
Malachi told the priests that the Lord was disappointed with them because they were not being the kind of priest that pleased Him. Malachi 2:7-8a “For the lips of a priest should guard knowledge, and people should seek instruction from His mouth, for he is the messenger of the LORD of hosts. But you have turned aside from the way. You have caused many to stumble by your instruction.”
The priests should have been leading the people to do what is right and teaching them truth from God’s word. They should have spoken boldly and told the people their offerings were evil.
Malachi told the people that God was going to send a messenger who would prepare the way before Him. God has promised that one day He is going to punish the wickedness of the earth. The day that God will punish all wickedness is often called the Day of the Lord in the Old Testament.
God told the people they were robbing Him. They wondered how they could rob God. They forgot that everything belongs to Him and they were to give Him a small portion, 1/10 of their money or gifts back to Him.
God was disappointed that the people were saying that it was useless to serve God. They began saying that the proud and evil are blessed by God.
Malachi tells us about a group of people that heard God’s message and believed it. They didn’t want to be wicked and disappoint God. They wanted to live their lives to please Him. They would gather together and talk together about the Lord. “The Lord paid attention and heard them, and a book of remembrance was written before Him of those who feared the Lord and esteemed His name.” Mal. 3:16
The last chapter of Malachi warns God’s people that the day is coming when He will punish the wicked. He encourages those who fear God that when that day comes, “the sun of righteousness shall rise with healing in its wings. You shall go out leaping like calves from the stall.” Mal. 4:2
After Malachi gave this message to God’s people, the Lord was silent for 400 years. He did not send any more prophets to His people. Those 400 years must have been very difficult for God’s people. If the people understood how much God loved them, they would trust and obey Him and believe He would keep all of His promises.
Gospel Connection: You and I know that God kept His promise to His people to send the Messiah. The Jews thought the Messiah God would send would set up a kingdom and rule the land. We learned in Zechariah that the Messiah would come first as a humble servant. (Zech. 9:9) Jesus came first to rescue us from our sins. He is the perfect sacrifice who shed His blood to take away all our sins. (John 1:29) “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16)
Today there are 2 kinds of people: Those who believe in Jesus for the forgiveness of sins and those who don’t. Those who believe in Jesus will live forever with God because their sins have been cleansed by Jesus’ shed blood. Those who do not believe in Jesus will be punished for their sins and separated from God forever.
Jesus promised He was coming again. That hasn’t happened. Will we live each day giving our best to Jesus? Will we obey His Word even when it seems like no one else is? Jesus could come any second or wait another 100 years. (The Lord is not slow to fulfill His promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance. 2 Pet. 3:9) Let’s remember how much God loved us by sending Jesus and give Him our very best!
Close in prayer.
- What does Malachi’s name mean? (My messenger)
- What did Malachi remind God’s people? (He loved them)
- Why was God disappointed with His people? (They weren’t bringing the best offerings, the priests were not teaching the people to live according to God’s truth, they were robbing God and they said it was useless to serve God)
- What kind of offering did God require the people to bring for a sacrifice? (An animal that wasn’t sick or injured, one without blemish)
- What is the Day of the Lord? (The day God will punish all the wickedness on the earth)
- How long was God silent after Malachi gave His message? (400 years)
- What change do you need to make in your life to give God your very best?
You might also enjoy our lesson plan “Many Silent Years” about the time between the New & Old Testament.