Todays readings.. Job 39, Malachi 1, Revelation 17&18
Today we started reading the last book of the Old Testament, by the prophet Malachi. This was the final message of God; he sent no more prophets until John the Baptist and Jesus Christ came. It was a time of divine silence similar to today, but they did have the writings of the prophets and patriarchs and we also have God’s word. Malachi’s message begins, “The oracle of the word of the LORD to Israel by Malachi. ‘I have loved you,’ says the LORD, But you say, ‘How have you loved us?’”
God’s answer to their question is just as relevant today. There is a lot of talk in Church circles that ‘God is love.’ – is that talk meaningless? Why did the people of Malachi’s day ask this question? It was because they expected the LORD to endlessly show his love regardless of how they behaved. Their lives had become full of problems; as a result, they cannot see any evidence of God’s love.
God causes Malachi to respond, “the LORD of hosts says to you, O priests, who despise my name. But you say, ‘How have we despised your name?’ By offering polluted food upon my altar … when you offer those that are lame, or sick, is that not evil?” [v.7,8] They offered to God the things that were no longer of value to them. What is the equivalent today?
One answer is – our time! Are we too busy to make the time to read God’s word? When we do read it, does it stir us into action to use our particular talents in some area of service?
Malachi’s message is very relevant to many attitudes today; note v.13 “ … you say, ‘What a weariness this is’” Today, much more than then, there are interesting and humanly exciting things to do than to give more than a passing thought to God – at the very best to find a couple of hours to spare from the 168 hours in the week to offer a form of “worship” – and maybe the main interest then is in “fraternization”?
Some may see participation in Christmas time activities as showing ‘love’ to God? Singing carols perhaps? The words of one popular carol particularly struck us, we chanced to hear it sung by a popular entertainer, “Man will live for evermore because of Christmas Day!” What nonsense.
Disasters followed Malachi’s time and the message at the start of Ch. 4 is even more relevant today: “For behold, the day is coming … when all the arrogant and all evildoers will be stubble … but for you who fear my name …” Let us fear God’s name and use our time in 2019 in ways that show we do.