In Malachi’s time, things seem to be going well. The people have returned to their land, the wall has been built and the temple was rebuilt. But the people have forgotten the goodness of God. They have become complacent. They question God’s love and faithfulness, but still go through the motions. How often do we do that today? Do we surrender to God, or worship Him half-heartedly? Do we praise Him when things are good, or just cry out to Him when things are not? Or do we question His love when things are not going our way? Malachi has a message. Honor God. Give of your best. He has a plan.
“A son honors his father, and a servant his master. If then I am the Father, where is My honor? And if I am a Master, where is My reverence? Says the LORD of hosts to you priests who despise My name. Yet you say, ‘In what way have we despised Your name?’ “You offer defiled food on My altar, but say, ‘In what way have we defiled You?’ By saying, ‘The table of the LORD is contemptible.’ And when you offer the blind as a sacrifice, is it not evil? And when you offer the lame and sick, is it not evil? Offer it then to your governor! Would he be pleased with you? Would he accept you favorably?” says the LORD of hosts. “But now entreat God’s favor, that He may be gracious to us. While this is being done by your hands, will He accept you favorably?” says the LORD of hosts.
Where does your priority lie? Do we worship God in church on Sunday and then forget Him the rest of the week and go back to our own lives? Does our lives reflect God’s light and God’s grace? Do we give Him our best or just squeeze Him into our schedule? When we pay our tithes or donate to charity, do we give cheerfully or just give as if paying dues? Do we give what we can afford or give from the top? I heard a quote on TV the other day. Who you are is what you can’t live without. What (or who) can you not live without?
Have we not all one Father? Has not one God created us? Why do we deal treacherously with one another by profaning the covenant of the fathers? Judah has dealt treacherously, and an abomination has been committed in Israel and in Jerusalem, for Judah has profaned the LORD’s holy institution which He loves: he has married the daughter of a foreign god. May the LORD cut off from the tents of Jacob the man who does this, being awake and aware, yet who brings an offering to the LORD of hosts!
Do we put God above all things? What are the idols in our lives? We may not worship an idol, a physical statue or false god (but many still do), but many of us have our own idols in life. Where do you spend your free time? Do you have any free time to give to God? What do you think about most in your life? How much time do you spend in prayer or reading God’s Word? I am sure this may be convicting to you. It is to me. Also, how do we treat others? Do we love our neighbor? Are we setting a good example for our children and those around us?Do we honor our wives as Christ loves the church? Wives do you submit and respect your husbands? Do we honor the covenant of marriage?
And this is the second thing you do: you cover the altar of the LORD with tears, with weeping and crying; so He does not regard the offering anymore, nor receive it with goodwill from your hands. Yet you say, “For what reason?” Because the LORD has been witness between you and the wife of your youth, with whom you have dealt treacherously; yet she is your companion and your wife by covenant. But did He not make them one, having a remnant of the Spirit? And why one? He seeks godly offspring. “Therefore take heed to your spirit, and let none deal treacherously with the wife of his youth. “For the LORD God of Israel says that He hates divorce, for it covers one’s garment with violence,” says the LORD of hosts. Therefore take heed to your spirit, that you do not deal treacherously.”
I think many of us fall short for honoring our spouses and meeting their needs. We should put them first before our own desires. Our marriage vows are not suggestions. Marriage is not something you take lightly nor is it easy. It requires work and selflessness. It is a binding contract between you and your spouse and God.
You have wearied the LORD with your words; “Yet you say, “In what way have we wearied Him?” In that you say, “Everyone who does evil is good in the sight of the LORD, and He delights in them,” or, “Where is the God of justice?”
I hear so often things like, “how can a loving God allow these bad things to happen?” Yet, we kick Him out of our schools and public places. We applaud those who live a lifestyle contrary to God’s desires. We allow people to kill their unborn babies instead of seeing how precious every life is. People are offended when someone stands up for his or her believe in God and follows their convictions. And we often forget that we live in a fallen world. And, God loves us enough to give us free will. And when we choose to go on our own paths, it is somehow God’s fault that things don’t go the way we want.
“Your words have been harsh against Me,” Says the LORD, yet you say, ‘What have we spoken against You?’ You have said, ‘It is useless to serve God; What profit is it that we have kept His ordinance, and that we have walked as mourners before the LORD of hosts? So now we call the proud blessed, for those who do wickedness are raised up; they even tempt God and go free.’ “
Again, people blame God for the way the world is heading. Often we perceive those that are evil get away with it. But God is watching. And this life is so short. Where will those who practice unrighteousness be in the life to come? Eternity is a long time. But God has a plan. As He saw rebellion in the days of Malachai, He had a plan. He had a plan of salvation, not only for His Chosen People, Israel, but for all the world. Our God would dwell among us. God the Father would send His Son to pay for our sins, to be the ultimate sacrifice, to die once for all. Jesus would come in the flesh, and pay for all of our sins on the cross. In the next post, we will discuss what God says through Malachai of His salvation plan, His messenger, and our Savior.