“I have loved you,” says the Lord. But you say, “How have you loved us?”
– Malachi 1:2a
Sometimes, life is incredibly disappointing, discouraging, and deflating. As believers, we read about the power of God over and over in the Bible. But, we often don’t see it show up in our lives. We also read of heaven and how wonderful everything will be when God is done with history. But in the meantime, life can feel like we are carsick kids stuck in the back of a crowded car on a long road trip to Disneyland – it will be great once we get there but it’s an awful ride in the meantime.
In the book of Malachi, God’s children (young and old) were struggling. Perhaps you can relate to them? Financially, they were in a crisis as their economy had collapsed and no relief was in sight. Politically, their little nation was getting kicked around by other nations and armies. Morally, it became the norm for people to stop obeying God and do pretty much whatever they wanted. Spiritually, folks were still dropping in on church now and then, but they just went through the motions giving little money, energy, or passion to the Lord. To make matters worse, the spiritual leaders had developed some newfangled popular teaching that God had failed. Yes, they added to God’s attributes a new one – failure! People are largely the product of the teaching they receive, and once the people were convinced that God had basically sinned against them by failing them, most everyone who was hurting starting blaming God.
Eventually, there were trendy slogans that people had against God not unlike trending social media hashtags in our day. These included the following:
“How have you loved us?” (1:2)
“How have we despised your name?” (1:6)
“How have we polluted you?” (1:7)
“‘What a weariness this is.” (1:13)
““How have we wearied him?” (2:17)
“Everyone who does evil is good in the sight of the Lord and he delights in them.” (2:17)
“Where is the God of justice?” (2:17)
“How shall we return?” (3:7)
“How have we robbed you?” (3:8)
“How have we spoken against you?” (3:13)
“It is vain to serve God.” (3:14)
“Evildoers not only prosper but they put God to the test and they escape.” (3:15)
How does this list of grievances against God strike you? Is there anything on the list that is something you have thought or maybe even said? Is there any complaint you might have against God? If so, the good news in Malachi is that God knows what you’re thinking, hears what you’re saying, and wants to meet with you to work things out for the sake of a healthy, loving relationship with Him.
Is there any complaint, grievance, or “problem” you have with God that you need to bring to Him in prayer and Bible study this week to sort out?