In our study, we will look at what happens when your heart is not truly devoted to serving the Savior. We look at the history of God's people and how the book relates to our time.
"An oracle: The word of the Lord to Israel through Malachi." NIV translation
Malachi, whose name means "my messenger" was the last prophet to God's people before a period of silence that lasted four hundred years. He was sent at a time when the priesthood was corrupt and detached from God. Their disobedience and insincere teaching had brought about a lack of blessing. They were concerned about the outer appearance of things but completely ignored the motivations of the heart.
The "oracle" refers to the fact that the message that God gave him was a burden to him and not a happy "feel good" message. Malachi was truly saddened (as was God) by the way the priests and people were acting toward God and was sent with this message to bring conviction and repentance to their hearts. He used a conversation between God and His people to help them to examine their hearts and we can do the same thing in our hearts today.
"'I have loved you,' says the Lord. 'But you ask, "How have you loved us?" Was not Esau Jacob's brother?' the Lord says, 'Yet I have loved Jacob, but Esau I have hated, and I have turned his mountains into a wasteland and left his inheritance to the desert jackals.'" NIV translation
In this part of the conversation, God reminds His people that He loved them but they are looking for material blessings in the here and now instead of the blessing of being God's chosen people. God reminds them of the fact that Esau was related to Jacob and in fact was older yet it was Jacob that received the inheritance and blessing (see Genesis 25). Traditionally, it would have been the oldest son that received the blessing but God had chosen Jacob. Many people today are more concerned about material blessings than the fact that we are the chosen people of God and co-heirs with Christ of all that God has created.