Lessons Malachi

Times have changed. Christianity no longer enjoys a privileged position in society, in fact, we are often marginalized and belittled. Curiously, the most vociferous opponents are often those with a Christian background of some kind. This is most likely because Christianity teaches that people are bad and not good like we all want to think. Nobody wants to be told that they are wrong and will face the consequences, but that will not change their outcome. Living in this type of environment is a challenge for Christians, since we also have been impacted by these changes in society. We have developed attitudes that need correction because of living in this godless culture.

Malachi was written, thousands of years ago, to Judah during a time in which they were trying to reestablish themselves in a godless world. The attitudes they had then are very similar to our own now and hopefully will illuminate our own shortcomings. Let's look at their complaints and the parallels today.

"How have you loved us? (Mal. 1:2)": We so quickly forget that we are deserving of being destroyed, not of God's love. That is what is so amazing about the love of God. Jacob was chosen instead of Esau and God is angry with Esau forever.

"How have we despised your name? (Mal. 1:6): How have we polluted you? (Mal. 1:7)" - We despise God's name by making Him an accessory to our lives instead of the focus of them. Judah offered imperfect animals and we make God an afterthought. We do not honour or fear God, making Him in our own image.

"What a weariness this is. (Mal. 1:13)": Judah's worship of God had become a weariness to them. They had become tired of all the sacrifices and perhaps the time it took to perform them. We also have become weary of the time and sacrifices we make as Christians. The time it takes to read God's Word and learn about Him. The sacrifices of time and money we make for other people.

"Why does He not? (Mal. 2:14)": The people of Judah were distraught that it seemed that God no longer listened to them and they wanted to know why. The answer God gave is just as applicable today as it was then, "Because the LORD was witness between you and the wife of your youth, to  whom you have been faithless, though she is your companion and your wife by covenant (Mal. 2:14)."

 "How have we wearied him? (Mal. 2:17)": We weary God when we say that He delights in people who do evil. Very few people today are willing to say to people they know that they are going to Hell for their actions, unless they trust in God. We also weary God by asking, "Where is the God of justice?" If God is good why is there so much evil in this world? As Christians we need to be very careful of our thoughts in this area.

"How shall we return? (Mal. 3:7) ... How have we robbed you? (Mal. 3:8)": Returning to God is repenting to righteousness. The people of Judah were not paying the tithes that God commanded them and they were in essence robbing Him. Although there is no direct commandment to tithe in the New Testament, we are still called give our resources to the work of God. If we are hoarding the money that God has given to us and using it only for ourselves, we should not be surprised that we don't see Him working around us.

"How have we spoken against you? (Mal. 3:13)": When we start thinking that being a Christian only causes us trouble we are in a bad spot. When we start being envious of the lives of people who are not Christian we are in trouble. The people of Judah were saying it was vain to serve God and those people were not remembered.

Judah questioned God's love, did not fear or honour Him, became weary of serving Him, complained of Him not listening, denied they had any faults, claimed they didn't know what He wanted them to do, and started to think it was pointless to serve Him. Does this sound familiar?

There is a book of life being written with the names of those who fear God and esteem His name. If your name is not written in this book because you are like unbelieving Judah then you will face the consequences. The good news is that there is still time to repent.
"For behold, the day is coming, burning like an oven, when all the arrogant and all evildoers will be stubble. The day that is coming shall set them ablaze, says the Lord of hosts, so that it will leave them neither root nor branch. But for you who fear my name, the sun of righteousness shall rise with healing in its wings. You shall go out leaping like calves from the stall. And you shall tread down the wicked, for they will be ashes under the soles of your feet, on the day when I act, says the Lord of hosts. "Remember the law of my servant Moses, the statutes and rules that I commanded him at Horeb for all Israel. "Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the great and awesome day of the Lord comes. And He will turn the hearts of the fathers to their children and the hearts of children to their fathers, lest I come and strike the land with a decree of utter destruction. (Mal. 4:1 - 5)"

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