(Continuation to MALACHI (1))
CHARGE #5: The priests have failed, the people have lost their respect for God, now everyone has become cynical of God. “You have wearied the LORD with your words.”How have we wearied him?” you ask. By saying, “All who do evil are good in the eyes of the LORD, and he is pleased with them” or “Where is the God of justice?” . It is the common belief that “sin is successful”, and sad to say this is the attitude of some believers today. We accept evildoers by embracing the standards set by the society we live in, and then try to justify our actions and decisions by saying that everyone else is doing the same and have so far escaped God’s judgement. The argument may be that many enjoy material prosperity and constantly violate moral and divine law, and God apparently favours them; if God really exists why doesn’t He act! Surely, as believers we should know better, but how quick we are to embrace this world’s standards and then seek God’s approval?. And when there is no approval we doubt His justice!
CHARGE #6: The unchangeable, longsuffering God “I the Lord do not change ……you have turned away from my decrees and have not kept them. Return to me…… “But you ask, `How are we to return?’ “Will a man rob God? Yet you rob me. “But you ask, `How do we rob you?’ “In tithes and offerings. . Failure to be obedient to God’s word leads to unbelief and thus the events of the previous charge, as well as this charge of robbing God of what is due to Him. God’s command is to “return”, but the question is “how”. The only practical way is “to pay God His dues”; “Bring the whole tithe..”. . Return to God bringing to Him that which we have been withholding from Him. Then, and only then will God be able to pour us out a blessing!
CHARGE #7: The ever loving and forgiving God: yet a God of justice! “You have said harsh things against me,” ….”Yet you ask, `What have we said against you?’ “You have said, `It is futile to serve God. What did we gain by carrying out his requirements….. . Observing the success of the wicked can cause us to repeat the sins of Israel. Moses in stating God’s word to Israel, indicates that sinners would be removed from God’s presence while the righteous would prosper; but how different this seems in our experience . We, like Israel, are tempted to speak against God and forget the value of righteous sufferings. As Israel complained of the success of the wicked and spoke “harsh things” against God, God “listened and heard” , and reminded them that those who do serve Him in spite of all their sufferings do have everything to gain. “They will be mine,” says the LORD Almighty, “in the day when I make up my treasured possession. I will spare them, just as in compassion a man spares his son who serves him. And you will again see the distinction between the righteous and the wicked, between those who serve God and those who do not.” . The wicked shall receive a “terrible fire” (4:1) and nothing shall remain of them, “neither root or branch” only ashes .
CONCLUSION- It is clearly evident that the people of Israel were not willing to be responsible for their actions, and such is the case with us as believers today. We are never at fault for the situation we are in, it is always the fault of someone else, or the fault of our environment, and we continually excuse our actions by saying :‑ if only God had allowed things to go the other way; ‑ if only I lived somewhere else; ‑ if only I had quit while I was ahead. Like Israel we are quick to respond “how did I go wrong”, when our errors are very evident. “Did I really go against God’s will?” when we never sought His will. “As long as I go (or do) in Jesus Name then all will be well” but we were never obedient to His command in the first place. We need to recognize our individual responsibility to God to live holy lives, let us offer to God the best of our lives and time, let us bring the “whole tithe” and not rob God of what is rightfully His. Let us not “defile” God by showing contempt for His table of fellowship.
There needs to be a change in our attitude towards God or we will suffer the consequences; “Elijah…..will turn the hearts….else I will come and strike the land with a curse.” .