Malachi: Owning a True Heart … Embracing God’s Invitation
Read these words … “From the days of your fathers you have turned aside from my statutes and have not kept them. Return to me, and I will return to you, says the Lord of hosts. But you say, ‘How shall we return?'”
And these words … “Bring the full tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. And thereby put me to the test, says the Lord of hosts, if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you a blessing until there is no more need.”
The third section of Malachi speaks of the faithlessness of a nation (Malachi 2:10 – 3:15) and we could focus on that but is that really the point? Personally, I think not!
Rather I see the love of a God who wants to bless and He provides a clear invitation. God did not go any where the people did therefore it was the people’s responsibility to return to God, not the other way around. God further challenges the people to test Him and His Word. Do what I have asked regarding the tithe and I will do what promised – this is the challenge.
Though, there may be some connection to giving money but I propose that the main point is the love of a God. This is about a God who has not forgotten His promises to His people. Return to God and He will return and demonstrate the powerful connection through blessing the people.
Could it be the same for us today? Is not the principle the same for us all? If we find that we have strayed from God we need to accept the invitation and challenge. Let us get back to walking with God and watch the almighty God bless.
Some would tell us that the prayer for God’s blessing is selfish and based on a desire for fulfilling the flesh. Again I would present for your consideration that the principle of God is that our God desires so much for us to experience Him in the here and now. We are not talking about money in and of itself but rather an dynamic relationship that is not just future but is also now. One that provides peace, and being satisfied today. Whether there is money or not as today’s blessing is grace and mercy that may include money but our treasure are in heaven. The experience that we are seeking with God only comes from accepting the invitation to humbly return to God resulting in God returning to us … therefore, what should we do?
Accept God’s invitation today and fall on our knees and return to live following Him, and loving Him. Let’s not play the game of looking like we are when we are not on the inside, let’s be real, and give God His right place in our life – love God with all our heart, strength, and mind. Are we doing that?
Malachi: Owning a True Heart … Embrace His Authority
In Malachi 1:6 – 2:9 we find the second step in the path to owning a true heart – we need to embrace or appropriate the authority of God.
He is boss. He is our Lord and there is no other.
“A son honors his father and a servant his master …” God is both our Father and our Master and thus deserves the honor. One thing about owning a true heart is to live a consistent life and the consistent life is only through living out what we say and living according to who we are. In most of the world hypocrisy is frowned on. We this is what we are talking about here.
The nation of Israel asked how is this and it was because they were not consistent with what they knew. The Law was clear as to the type of sacrifice that was to be done. They, the Israelite’s, in accordance to the Law were to bring their best. The unstained, unblemished animal. Remember they had agreed to this but failed to do it.
On top of this the leadership, the priests that is, allowed the people to do this without instructing properly and God reprimanded them. Why? Because they did not “lay it to heart” (Malachi 2:2) In other words they were not owning a true heart. They knew what they were supposed to teach and they did not. The priests were to teach about life, peace, and the connection to fearing God (2:5). Instead the priests “corrupted” the covenant resulting in the people disregarding the Law – the result, neither had a true heart.
Even today we can do the same thing, can’t we? Think about it. We claim to be followers of Christ and yet we do not do what our Lord asks and then expect Him to bless us. This is a corruption of the love that has been demonstrated for us in the Son and Savior Jesus Christ. The reason is because the Israelite did not won a true heart. They said something and did something to make it look they were when they were not.
This is not a call to perfection as some might note but rather a call to being true to who we are by doing what we say we are going to do. This is called being authentic. This is what we want to be, authentic believers. In order to live consistent and be true to what and who we are is to embrace or appropriate God’s authority. He is the boss.
If He is the boss than we do what He says because we want to. We bring to our Lord the best according to His word because He is the authority.
Let’s do just that.