God’s Love and the Turning Heart
Malachi 4:4–6 (ESV)
4“Remember the law of my servant Moses, the statutes and rules that I commanded him at Horeb for all Israel.
5“Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the great and awesome day of the Lord comes.
6And he will turn the hearts of fathers to their children and the hearts of children to their fathers, lest I come and strike the land with a decree of utter destruction.”
1. Malachi told his audience to remember the law of Moses. He considered it a sufficient source of revelation in order for the Israelites to fulfill God’s expectations for them.
a. Why do the prophets regularly chide their hearers for failing to obey the law of Moses?
b. What other sources of truth had the Israelites appealed to in forsaking the law of Moses?
c. As NT believers, we have the fuller revelation of “grace and truth” through Jesus. Does this mean there wasn’t any “grace and truth” in the law of Moses?
d. What is your Bible reading or devotional plan for the New Year so that you might become more familiar with Biblical revelation?
2. Malachi said that God would send Elijah before the “great and awesome day of the Lord” in order to prepare people for that day.
a. In what ways did John the Baptist fulfill this prophecy? How do the following chapters in the NT help answer this question?
i. Matthew 11
ii. Matthew 17
iii. Luke 1
iv. John 1
b. In what ways did John the Baptist not fulfill this prophecy? What is the key indicator in this text to help you realize that John the Baptist did not completely fulfill this prophecy before Christ’s first advent?
c. What does this teach us about God’s willingness and desire to prepare his people for what he’s doing next?
d. What examples from your own life can you recall where God prepared you for his future plan for you by taking you through a particular situation?
3. Malachi said that the main thing that God is working in his heart is to bring his people to a state of repentance. Then, and only then, can God’s people make any spiritual progress.
a. Are you surprised that the repentance Malachi mentions is between fathers and children?
b. Why do you think God focuses on bridging the generation gap?
c. What can you do as a parent to turn your heart toward your children?
d. What can you do as a parent to encourage your children to turn their hearts toward you?
e. What can we do as a church to encourage transgenerational ministry?