A few months ago, I was cooking dinner in our kitchen and the plate I was going to put the food on slipped out of my hand, and fell to the countertop. You are probably thinking, “Oh no! The plate broke.” I wish the plate would’ve shattered into one hundred pieces! Instead, the plate hit the edge of the ceramic glass cooktop. The “expensive to replace” cooktop was broken and the dinner plate did not even suffer a single chip. I’m now shopping the holiday sales for a new electric cooktop. This serves as a vivid reminder to me that when something is “broken,” there will be a price to pay.
The people of Israel did pay an enormous price for their broken relationship with their heavenly Father. Their disobedience led to the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem and the nation’s exile to Babylon. Even when the people returned to Jerusalem, they neglected the work of the Temple as well as their personal worship of the Lord. The prophets, Haggai and Zechariah, addressed the failure of the people to rebuild the Temple. And now, Malachi delivers God’s message regarding their irreverent and false worship. The people of Israel have been unfaithful in their covenant relationship with God.
“I have loved you,” says the Lord. ~Malachi 1:2
Though the covenant relationship between God and Israel was broken, He continued to reach out. He extended His forgiveness and love to each one who would turn back to Him. The same is true with God today. He waits patiently for you and me to find the time to sit with Him, pour out our hearts in prayer, pause and listen for His voice, and open our Bibles to read verses in His written Word. His promises are true and He will be faithful until the very end.
If you are like me, the past few months have been busy – filled with much activity, time with others, and lots of chores to complete. This week while reading the book of Malachi, the Holy Spirit has touched me and I began to search my heart and dig a little deeper into my actions and motives. I have asked myself some hard questions and I invite you to search your hearts as well. Here’s my list:
- Is there any willful disobedience in my life? Name it and confess it to the Lord.
- Have I shown contempt for God’s name? Do my thoughts and actions indicate that I despise God (hold things against Him) or do not correctly view His value and worth?
- Have I led others into sin? Consider the use of my tongue when I speak.
- Do I regularly give tithes and offerings to the Lord? What is my giving plan – first fruits?
- Is my heart arrogant? How important is God in my life? Have I assumed an undue degree of importance about myself?
Each of these questions has come from the verses in the book of Malachi. The prophet is announcing the broken relationship between the Jews and God. The people were guilty and we quickly conclude the outcome will be judgment and punishment. However, there is a thread of hope woven through the prophet’s message—God’s forgiveness.
“But for you who revere my name, the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its wings. And you will go out and leap like calves released from the stall.” ~Malachi 4:2
I will pay the price for our new ceramic cooktop. But this very simple life example will serve as a reminder that I don’t want to pay the price for a broken relationship with my heavenly Father. I want to walk in obedience to His Word and commands. I want to love Him with all of my heart, soul, mind, and strength.
“The book of Malachi forms a bridge between the Old Testament and the New Testament. As you read Malachi, see yourself as the recipient of this word of God to his people. Evaluate the depth of your commitment, the sincerity of your worship, and the direction of your life. Then allow God to restore your relationship with him through his love and forgiveness.” (Life Application Study Bible, Zondervan. p. 1510.)
For your time of worship:
The Heart of Worship / Here I Am by Caleb and Kelsey https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7oyEzUHvpqU
What is broken in my life, in your life? Our God is faithful, loving, and promise keeping. He offers forgiveness, hope, and healing.
“I love the LORD, because He has heard my voice and my supplications. Because He has inclined His ear to me, therefore I will call upon Him as long as I live.” ~Psalm116:1-2