Key Passage: Malachi 4:2 “The sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its wings, and you will go out and playfully jump like calves.”
Big Picture Question: Why does God keep His promises? God is faithful, and He loves us.
Christ Connection: Malachi was a messenger for God. He said another messenger was coming. That messenger was John the Baptist. John’s job was to get people ready for the last Messenger, Jesus! Jesus is God’s Son. He came to rescue people from sin.
Thank you for continuing this journey of The Gospel Project® for Kids. Today’s Bible story takes us to the last book of the Old Testament, the Book of Malachi. After living as prisoners in Babylon for many years, God’s people had returned to Judah—their promised land. They had worked hard and overcome opposition to rebuild the temple and the walls around Jerusalem. Surely God would restore them … finally! But nothing happened. As they waited, they faced drought and economic uncertainty. God’s people probably didn’t feel like God had blessed them at all.
“It is useless to serve God,” they said. “What have we gained by keeping His requirements?” (Mal. 3:14). Did God still care? It wasn’t long until they fell back into the same patterns of sin that led to their exile in the first place: idolatry, covetousness, hypocrisy, arrogance, and abuse of the poor. But God did still love His people. He had been working out His divine plan of redemption, and He never gave up on them. God sent a message to His people through the prophet Malachi.
Malachi spoke to God’s people approximately 100 years after the end of the Babylonian captivity. Malachi’s message from God was a wake-up call. The people’s lack of blessing didn’t mean that God didn’t care: God exposed His people’s sin and made clear that their actions merited a punishment. God’s people needed to repent and turn back to God. “But for you who fear My name,” God said, “the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its wings” (Mal. 4:2).
Four hundred years of silence followed Malachi’s prophecy; God did not communicate to His people. Malachi was a messenger—a prophet—who told God’s people to repent. Malachi also told about another messenger God would send. This messenger, John the Baptist, would break the silence. John would call people to repent and get them ready for a final Messenger, Jesus Christ. Jesus would bring good news of salvation.
Family Activity: Help kids find the Book of Malachi; the last book in the Old Testament. Read some of God’s promises from Malachi 1:11; 3:1, 17; 4:2. Guide kids to summarize each promise in their own words. Ask family members to share how they feel knowing that God is faithful and that He loves us.
Go further: Volunteer as a family to clean up a walking trail or roadside in your city. Talk to kids about what it meant for John to prepare the way for Jesus.