Melodic Line of Malachi

I was recently able to attend a preaching workshop by the Simon Trust here in Madison.  One of the principles they teach is that each book of the bible has a main theme or idea.  They call it the Melodic Line.  If you listen to a song, whether it is Country and Western, Jazz or Classical, there is usually a line of melody that is repeated and developed through the piece.

            What would you say is the Melodic Line of Malachi?  Here is my answer: 

God’s love is unchanging – even when his people are stubborn.

            The main ides is in the 1:2 “I have loved you” and in 3:6, “I the Lord never change.”  But we also noted all the times that the people of God argued with the Lord and his messenger.  Even when God said, “I love you” they argued.

            God’s love is unchanging, even when his people are stubborn.

             But with this is another melody, like a descant to a song that rises above all the other notes.  This descant is “I am about to do something for the nations.”   When he said, “from the rising of the sun to its setting, my name will be great.” and “…my name will be great among the nations.”

            God’s love is unchanging – even when his people are stubborn. 

            He will be great among the nations.

Melodic Line – Haggai

Four times Haggai says something like “take careful thought to your ways”.

Haggai 1:5 – “Give careful thought to your ways.”  – why your lives are unsatisfying

Haggai 1:7 – “Give careful thought to your ways.” – go and get started on the temple

Haggai 2:15 – “Now give careful thought to this from this day on.” – remembering the frustrations of removed blessing

Haggai 2:18 – “From this day on…give careful thought to the day when the foundations of the temple was laid…”  – today is a day changer.

The Point Haggai was making was that the Returnees needed to talk a good look at their lives from the standpoint of God’s promises – they were not being blessed and that could be traced to a lack of faithfulness.  In OT terms that was largely measured in material blessings – the temple and purses with holes in them.

The other side of the coin is the emphasis on God’s ultimate plan – their work was small, their governor was not that important, their numbers were few, but the big picture was a world changer –

Haggai 1:6-9 – the glory of the Nations will come here

Haggai 2:21-22 – the heavens and the nations will be shaken.

Give careful thought to your lives and see that your faith-driven service now is linked to an incredible future.


Melodic Line – Book overview

   This is a second entry from the Simeon Trust workshop that I recently attended.  One of the principles of study that the Simeon Trust presents is the concept of the Melodic Line.  Let me give you  their definition:

“Books of the Bible and the Bible as a whole have a coherent, sustained message similar to the unique melody of a song…It unites the whole book, concisely stating what the whole book is about.  The theme of any passage will be related (directly or indirectly) to this theme or melodic line.”  (from Workshop Handout)

The idea is that we should treat the Bible in a literary way, and to look for the theme or main idea(s) that are presented by each author.  This keeps us from grasping at random verses that strike our interest, while we miss the main thrust of the book.  It also is a way to keep us interpreting passages in their context.

For example, the Book of Acts is often a source book for the phenomenon of the Holy Spirit, or for church organization.  But the Melodic line would have to do with the expansion of the Gospel – summarized in

Acts 1:8
    But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”

The melodic line of Proverbs is represented by Proverbs 1:7

Proverbs 1:7 – ESV
    The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge;
        fools despise wisdom and instruction.

 I am currently preparing to peach on the prophetic books of Haggai and Malachi, and am reading with my printed out text and colored pencils to discern the “melodic line.”  This is very useful, and I wish I had learned this concept earlier in my studies.

 By the way, do you know  the source for the  melodic line in the graphic above?