As of late, I have been working through the book of Malachi. As the Old Testament age is coming to a close and the appearing of the Messiah nears, God is once more call out to His chosen. The prophet Malachi is called to speak God’s truth, though unpopular it may be, to His people. This book is just that, an indictment of the Israel but an often unnoticed thread which runs through the book is the glorious nature of God.
At the time of the writing of Malachi, the nation of Israel was living in a reestablished country. God’s people had been removed from their homeland due to continued rebelliousness. But the nation was now restored. The people had returned to Jerusalem and had rebuilt the temple. The temple worship had been reinstituted. Although this successful return resulted in a celebrated new chapter in the nation’s history, it also brought with it an undesirable outcome, arrogance.
The problems now lie not in Israel’s physical bondage but in its spiritual complacency. Israel had lost her zeal for God and thus merely went through the religious motions. Though the people continued with ceremonial worship and maintained religious traditions their hearts were far from God. Their religion was strong but their faith was empty.
Yet, through all this, the book of Malachi is not a book on the subject of man’s failure but on the loving, gracious God. The nature of God is so wonderfully displayed in his confrontation of religious hypocrisy and his plea for a return to authentic, meaningful faith.
The Christian church today, unfortunately, resembles the nation of Israel during this period. Like then, God is beckoning the church to worship Him with their hearts and lives, not just their traditions and routines.
So, how about you, do you thirst for Him? Do you have an unquenchable appetite for His presence, if not, then listen to His call… return to a faith that is living.