At one point or another, I think we’ve all been in embarrassing situations where you’ve accused another person of doing something wrong, only to find out that, actually, you were the one to blame.
This morning we begin our series on the last prophet of the Old Testament, Malachi. Malachi built on the ministries of Haggai and Zechariah, prophesying a few decades after them. More importantly, he was a contemporary of Ezra and Nehemiah. So it will help you a great deal to read the books of Ezra and Nehemiah, since Malachi deals with many of the same issues as they did.
Haggai and Zechariah had promised a Messiah, that Jerusalem would be rebuilt, that they would overcome all their enemies and that peace would prevail in the land.
Obeying the word of the prophets, the Israelites had rebuilt the temple, removed the idols of Babylon from their midst and worshipped the Lord. But instead of the immediate fulfilment of the promises and blessings Haggai and Zechariah had preached about, they lived in fear surrounded by enemies and Jerusalem still lay in ruins.
So turning against the Lord Almighty, they pointed an accusing finger at him saying “You claim to love us, but we have no evidence that you do. How have you loved us? You, God, have nothing to show for it!”
It was an audacious allegation. They were accusing God of being unfaithful to them. And that was something that He took very seriously.
It is no secret that for a long time, especially in the last 15 years, most of us have been going through a rough time as a nation. But, even beyond our recent history, you can also point out personal experiences that have been anything but blessed – tough struggles with finances, health, family and life in general.
As a Christian, the combined and persistent weight of all your struggles can easily cause your heart to doubt the love that God has for you.
Perhaps God has not lived up to your imaginations and assumptions of what you expect him to be. Maybe you feel that he has not lived up to His own revelation of who He is.
Therefore you doubt God’s love and care. Perhaps you ask, does God love me? And if so, how has he loved me? Are any of God’s words true? Does He even exist?
Malachi will say to us two very simple points this morning, the first of which is that God has loved you faithfully