Mal 1:1 The oracle of the word of the LORD to Israel through Malachi.
I am confronted once again by the meaning of words. The word translated “oracle” can also be translated as “burden” or “utterance”. But I had to look that up. My inital reaction was negative, because of the negative meaning/association that we have given to the word oracle.
For me, the first definition that comes to mind is – a shrine where an oracular god is consulted. It is associated with myths and false gods. (Although some might consider the tabernacle and the Temple to have been oracles.) The second definition that comes to mind is – an authoritative person who divines the future. To me this is usually a shaman or witch doctor who reads the entrails of some slaughtered animal or rolls dice, reads cards or casts bones. The last definition is – a prophecy (usually obscure or allegorical) revealed by a priest or priestess. This particular definition I was not personally aware of. I have always thought that the term oracle referee only to the person or place, not to the message itself. The focus turns to the message and the giver of the message rather than being on the place or person bringing the message. It turns from the man or the place built by man and focuses in God and what He is saying.
In comunicating through the written and spoken word it is important to examine what meaning the author associates with the word, but it is equally important to examine what meanings and ideas we personally are associating with the word to be sure that we are not adding to or taking away from what was intended. Because of my ignorance of a definition I was assigning a negative conotation to a word that was not intended by the author.
What we see here is that God spoke to His people through His prophet Malachi. This shows us two things about God. Firstly it demonstrates that God communicates with His people. Secondly it shows that He communicates both directly and indirectly. He communicated directly with Malachi and through Malachi He communicated with the nation of Israel. For me this raises a few questions. Why didn’t God communicate directly with everyone? Why was Malachi chosen? Does God still communicate today both directly and indirectly? If He does then why not directly with everyone and who is He choosing to use to communicate indirectly?
Incase you’re waiting for an answer, I don’t have one right now. I have a couple of opinions, but I don’t have answers. If God communicates them to me directly I will share them with you and I hope that you would do the same for me. Or if you have opinions I am open to those as well.
As far as opinions go, here are mine.
Many of the people of Israel were not ready or were not willing to hear from God directly, but many of those would hear Him if it came through His messenger. Also, I believe that even if they wouldn’t hear from the messanger He wanted tehm to be without excuse so He had Malachi record the message. This same thought and opinion carries forward to today. There are still many who cannot or will not hear God directly and so He uses messangers to reach them in a way that they will receive. I do however believe that there are more people that He communicates with directly because of the gift of the Holy Spirit that was given on the day of Pentecost. I also think that the time is coming (perhaps is here) when God will begin to use more broad indirect messages that will be recorded, so that those who will not hear will be without excuse.