Bible Reading: Malachi 1:1-5; Proverbs 3:5-8
Lately I have been pestering the people around me about reading the Minor Prophets. I started a plan to read through them all in a 25-day period, and quickly fell in love with them. To read through the promises of God for His people, but also getting a glimpse of His holiness and justice as He judges all of the nations of the earth. In the Minor Prophets, we see the discipline of our perfect Heavenly Father towards His people, Israel, as well as His promises of hope and peace for them after He removes their enemies. Malachi was particularly challenging to me, especially in light of the previous events in our nation. Let me explain what I mean.
In Malachi 1:1-5 we see God’s people asking a question so many of us have. God says to them, “I have loved you,” and their response is, “How have you loved us?” What follows can get lost if you are not familiar with history between Israel and Edom. Brief Summary: Israel is a nation descended from Jacob, and Edom is a nation descended from Esau. When God led Israel out of Egypt, they sought help and supplies from Edom, but rather than support God’s people, they instead war with them. There has been bad blood between these nations for as long as they have been nations! Edom has been a constant thorn in Israel’s side, and so they ask God, “How have you loved us?” How could God claim to love Israel when He allows their annoying enemy, Edom, to exist and torment them?
God’s response is to remind Israel of His faithful and steadfast love He has shown to them. God reminds them of the times He has dealt with Edom on behalf of Israel, and He also tells Israel what He will do to them. “They may build, but I will tear down, and they will be called ‘the wicked country,’ and ‘the people with whom the LORD is angry forever.’” (Malachi 1:4) Even though this has not happened yet, God promises that His love for Israel will always be, and He will always be their God. When Israel sees the love and faithfulness of God in action, they will worship Him saying, “Great is the LORD beyond the border of Israel!” (Malachi 1:5)
I bring this passage up, with all of its history for Israel, to ask what your response is to God. God says to you, “I have loved you,” and do you ask back, “How have you loved me?” When things happen in this world, like the shooting in Las Vegas, or the hurricanes over the last weeks, or something closer to home, like cancer or another disease; what is your attitude towards God then? Are you quick to point out where He has dropped the ball? Or is your response to have faith in the steadfast love of God? He has loved you, and He always will. Can you put your faith in His unchanging love, even when things do not go how you want them to?
Call to Action: Proverbs 3:5 teaches us to trust in the Lord with all of our heart, and lean not on our own understanding. In our own understanding, it may look like God does not love or care about what is going on, but that is not God’s character. God has loved us greatly, to the point that He sent His Son to die to redeem us from sin. If God was willing to give His Son for our souls, why would He abandon us sit idly by while chaos occurs? Look to the manger where He was born, look to the cross where He died, and look to the empty tomb where He resurrected; look to Christ, and remember how greatly God has loved you. Place your faith in the steadfast love of the Lord, and may your heart be filled with His peace.
Rev. Larkin Sumerlin