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Malachi: A Prophet in Times of Despair

By Baruch Maoz
March 2013 | Review by Jeremy Walker

Synopsis

Malachi: A Prophet in Times of Despair connects the plight of the people returning from Babylon with challenges facing modern Christians, indicating the biblical hope and call to selfless obedience. In non-technical language, Baruch Maoz surveys the circumstances of the time, the book’s characteristics, and its’ place in the Bible. He explores the text, passage by passage, to draw out riches from the message, helping readers connect that word to life in today’s world. Christians interested in Jewish Christian insights of an overlooked prophetic book, and Pastors seeking inspiration for preaching will find in Malachi: A Prophet in Times of Despair a helpful guide. Readers facing frustration, disappointment, marital stress, or spiritual malaise, will discover that Malachi’s message shines on the dark places of life with God’s amazing comfort, light and guidance.

  • Publisher: Crossbooks Publishing
  • ISBN: 978-1-4627-0619-8
  • Pages: 148
  • Price: 9.17
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Book Review

Malachi: A Prophet in Times of Despair

Baruch Maoz

Crossbooks

184 pages, £9.17

ISBN: 978-1-46270-619-8

Star rating: 3 stars

Describing itself as ‘a devotional commentary’, the able pen of Baruch Maoz — using his own translation of the prophet Malachi — guides us carefully and honestly through the last book of the Old Testament.

      The structure is simple. The prophet’s burden is broken down over six chapters, with each chapter divided into coherent sections and concluded with a summary of key points, a written prayer (drawing on Calvin’s prayers from his exposition of Malachi), and questions for discussion.

      Over the course of the book, several threads emerge. One is the character of God, with his grace and love at the forefront, but equally not a God to be trifled with, but rather feared and reverenced. The implications for God’s enemies, and for his people — especially in the arena of worship — are made plain. There is also significant teaching on the matter of marriage.

      Among the strengths of this short treatment are the clarity of the language and the forcefulness of the application. There is nothing overly technical here, making this an excellent volume for simple study and devotional reading, but the distinctness of the applications will make this profitable for the souls and sermons of preachers as well.

      My main disappointment was that — especially in his consideration of the last two chapters of the prophet — the author kept very close to his brief, and did not really carry us forward into the fulfilment of Malachi’s prophecies in and around the life of our Lord. I am sure that there were good reasons for this, but ,for me at least,  this would have added considerably to the profit of the volume.

Jeremy Walker

Crawley, West Sussex

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