Malachi 4:4 (HCSB)
4 “Remember the instruction of Moses My servant, the statutes and ordinances I commanded him at Horeb for all Israel.
The closing verses of Malachi offer a final command, guidance, and warning to Israel, and to us.
First is a reference back to Moses and God’s “instruction” given to him. Seems this would primarily be the Ten Commandments, which encompasses our relationship with God and with man. And considering the mention of “ordinances” it seems reasonable to assume that the whole of the OT law is referenced as well. Even though the writing of Malachi was pre-Christ, the premise that God’s law is permanent carries through here, and should be recognized.
Second is the promise of a return of Elijah prior to the Day of the Lord, that day of judgement. I don’t know if this is symbolic or literal, and I’m not sure it’s that important. Perhaps Elijah here is a reference to John the Baptist, as suggested in Matthew 11:13-14. I think the main idea is that there will be a sort of awakening, a response to God, and turning back. And we saw, and continue to see, that in the work of Christ.
Finally there is the warning in Malachi 4:6. This final warning is double-edged in a way. The obvious takeaway is that if we do not turn to God we face the land being “struck” and being “cursed”. And look closer, God says “I will come.” When the Creator shows up to strike the land it’s not a good thing. The second way to take this is that there is still a chance! God did not say, “I am coming to strike the land,” He said “otherwise.” And that remaining chance to be made right with God was Christ! Somehow in the midst of a warning God still can convey His message of hope.
Lord, thank You for Your message of hope for us! I pray that we would turn back to You, now and forever. I pray that we would place our hope and faith solely in Christ. Help us to repent, turn from our sin, and seek to honor and obey Your perfect law. Amen.