The prophet Isaiah is the key prophet of the Old Testament. Except for the Psalms, the prophet Isaiah is the longest book of the Old Testament. This year, all four of the first readings during the season of Advent, as well as many daily Mass readings come from the book of the prophet Isaiah. The Orthodox Christian Church even celebrates Saint Isaiah on May 9. Why is he so important? First, his prophecy is grounded in a powerful relationship with God. The vision we hear described at the start of the book of Isaiah forms the foundation for everything he says. Second, he is able to read the signs of the times. While he was surely politically astute, his message is consistent. Trust in God. Third, Isaiah recognizes and challenges people to see that sincere faith in God impacts the behaviors of our lives. Lastly, it is easy to see in the prophecies of Isaiah a foreshadowing of the life of Jesus and the arrival of the Messiah.
In the first book of Samuel, chapter eight, the people ask Samuel for a king. Forgetting that God is their king, or perhaps more accurately rejecting the kingship of God, the people want to be just like other nations. Notice this. The people want to be just like other nations. The idea is one that remains common today. Sometimes we too find ourselves wanting to fit in, to be just like everyone else. Whether it is because we find ourselves unwilling to fin God because we sin, or simply do not desire to think about God, we can still experience a tension between God’s way and ours. This weekend by celebrating Christ the King we see how they coincide and complement each other.
Just who was the prophet Malachi? Truth is, we really do not know. But learning about the structure of the message of the book of the prophet Malachi can both warn us to be concerned with how well we follow God, and filled with hope about what God has in store for us.