Lifelines

Who, me?

Bettie Marlowe
Posted 6/5/18

Would you believe that Israel had to be convinced of God’s love to them? Well, this was the first problem Malachi addressed.

After all God had brought them though and after all the victories he …

This item is available in full to subscribers

Lifelines

Who, me?

Posted

Would you believe that Israel had to be convinced of God’s love to them? Well, this was the first problem Malachi addressed.
After all God had brought them though and after all the victories he had given them, they still asked, “How have you loved us?” like a belligerent child to its father.
But God said, “I am your father. Where is the honor I should receive? If I am your master, where is the respect you should have for me?”

God spelled out their transgressions. “You have defiled me with polluted bread on my altar. You give me the leftovers. You give me what is unfit to give to anyone else.”

And you know what the people said? “Who, me?” Their reaction was a telltale sign of their feigned innocence.
When my son was growing up, I learned that when he tried to avoid the truth, he always yawned. It was hard to tell if it was a delaying tactic, or if it just happened because he stumbled over the truth. At any rate, it would give him away — his yawning was a telltale sign of feigned innocence.
Surely Israel knew God could see exactly what they were up to. And yet, they fully expected him to bless their wickedness. The priests, too, had joined in their sins, and brought contempt on the house of Levi.
No longer was the table of the Lord revered, but was scorned. Malachi likened their actions — “ ye have snuffed at it” — to a cow not liking its fodder and blowing on it so no other animal would eat it.
This was an insult to God. They had broken their covenant, not only with God, bit with one another — even the marriage covenant was held in disdain, so they could marry the daughters of an idolatrous people. “I hate divorce,” the Lord said. “You have wearied me with all this.”

“Who, me?” (big yawn).
“Yes, you.”

Because Israel persisted in her wickedness, God warned them of impending judgment. “Return unto me,” God said, “and I will return unto you” (Malachi 3:7).
“How shall we return?”

He told them, “You have robbed me.”

“Who? Us? How have we robbed you?” They were determined to quarrel with God with wide-eyed innocence.
He answered them again — “In tithes and offering.” And he tells them because of the curse this brought, their crops failed, the cattle were not producing — all because they were failing to support the House of God.
But God makes them a promise — he doesn’t give up even when his children are disobedient. He tells them if they will quit this foolishness and, as we would say, “straighten up and fly right,” the windows of heaven would open and there wouldn’t be room to contain the blessings.
Not only that, but he would rebuke the devourer “for your sakes and he shall not destroy the fruits of your ground; neither shall your vine cast her fruit before the time in the field.” Prove me, God said. But I cannot bless you over what you are doing now.
“You have said same strong things against me,” the Lord said.
“Who? Us? What did we say?” (comes another big yawn).
God played their record back to them — he reminded them of their words: “It is vain to serve God; what’s in it for me?; we see the proud and arrogant happy and the wicked exalted; and even those who challenge him escape punishment.”

God also knew those who feared him — who encouraged one another and honored him in their thoughts and actions.
I’ll remember, God said, and “they will be mine in the day when I make up my treasured possession.”

Comments

No comments on this story | Please log in to comment by clicking here
Please log in or register to add your comment

X

Print subscribers have FREE access to clevelandbanner.com by registering HERE

Non-subscribers have limited monthly access to local stories, but have options to subscribe to print, web or electronic editions by clicking HERE

We are sorry but you have reached the maximum number of free local stories for this month. If you have a website account here, please click HERE to log in for continued access.

If you are a print subscriber but do not have an account here, click HERE to create a website account to gain unlimited free access.

Non-subscribers may gain access by subscribing to any of our print or electronic subscriptions HERE