In our opening reading from 450 b.c. Malachi spoke against the upper class, who, in the eighty years since Jerusalem had returned from the Babylonian Captivity, had fallen into the same sin for which God had allowed them to be carried off to Babylon. That sin was one of making slaves of even relatives and neighbors when they got behind in paying off their debts.
Before getting further into their sins, we must note that Malachi wasn’t a real name. The name Malachi simply means “My messenger,” or “God’s messenger.” He didn’t use his own name, because he didn’t want those rich oppressors to know who he was.
What we should note here is that Malachi was not accusing them or greed or cruelty, but of Fear of the Lord. They thought that God wasn’t able to fight for his poor people.
Chapter Eleven of Isaiah lists the virtues for which the Messiah would be great. It said, “The Spirit of the Lord will rest upon him, a spirit of Wisdom, Understanding, Counsel, Fortitude, Knowledge and Fear of the Lord.
I have a friend who belongs to a Pentecostal church. Any time I mention Fear of the Lord, she straightens me out She says, “Tom, I don’t think we should fear the Lord. I think we should love him.”
I get the point she is making. But I still like what Isaiah said after listing those gifts of the Holy Spirit. He said the Messiah’s delight would be Fear of the Lord.