As a youngster, I loved writing letters to my mommy. My printing was shaky, the spelling, atrocious, and the sentence structure, non-existent, but my mother would keep those notes that I had written to her in her loving care for decades. Although they were scribbly, poorly written, and childlike, the letters were packed with love and affection from a little girl to her mom, the woman who, at the time, was my whole world.
The Old Testament books of prophecy were personal letters from God’s hand to His children. The last letter to arrive in Israel’s mailbox was the Book of Malachi. That mailbox would then remain empty for 400 long, weary, silent years. The silence would be deafening until a young man, clothed in camel’s hair and eating locust and wild honey, would burst onto the Judean wilderness and boldly proclaim, “I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness, Make straight the way of the Lord.”
We know little of Malachi’s back story, but we do know that his name means my messenger. Since these would be the last words the Hebrew nation would hear from their God for quite a long time, what would that message be? At the time of Malachi’s writing, the temple and the walls surrounding Jerusalem had been completed. Spiritually and physically speaking, Jerusalem was now protected, except for a dangerous kink in her armor, spiritual apathy and carelessness.
God reminded His people that “I am the LORD, I change not.” He had not moved, but they had, so He exhorted them to “Return unto me.” They had wearied God by their “polluted…contemptible” offerings of sacrificial lambs that were “torn…lame…sick,” by their mixed marriages with pagan neighbors, by flagrantly dismissing loyalty to their spouses, and by robbing God of the “tithes and offerings” due Him. Worst of all, the priests, the spiritual leadership, “had departed out of the way,” causing many to “stumble at the law.” It is little wonder that the letter ends with the word curse.
The children of Israel had allowed a thousand small compromises to grow into outright disobedience. What a lesson for us! Small acts of willfulness, a touch of worldliness and apathy, a slip in our attitude toward a holy God, a life of “faith without works” and it happens, our fellowship with the Father is broken and the Holy Spirit is grieved. Perhaps the exhortation “Return unto me, and I will return unto you,” would be timely for our generation and our country at this moment in time, also.
Malachi 3:6 For I am the LORD, I change not;
Oh Lord, what a stern warning for our nation. Help us as a nation, and me as a believer, to overcome apathy and carelessness and draw closer to You.<div class='sharedaddy sd-block sd-like jetpack-likes-widget-wrapper jetpack-likes-widget-unloaded' id='like-post-wrapper-164683012-2330-63d9d9add0012' data-src='https://widgets.wp.com/likes/#blog_id=164683012&post_id=2330&origin=wp.blog.grandmasgleanings.com&obj_id=164683012-2330-63d9d9add0012' data-name='like-post-frame-164683012-2330-63d9d9add0012' data-title='Like or Reblog'><h3 class="sd-title">Like this:</h3><div class='likes-widget-placeholder post-likes-widget-placeholder' style='height: 55px;'><span class='button'><span>Like</span></span> <span class="loading">Loading...</span></div><span class='sd-text-color'></span><a class='sd-link-color'></a></div>