Bro. David's Weekly Word

Weekly Word from Bro. David

October 27, 2016

From The Pastor's Heart:

     Today we continue our series through Malachi's prophecy.  As we've studied this OT book, we've seen that the people of God are just going through the motions and it affects everything they do.  It affects their families, friendships, financial positions, and their faith. In Malachi 3:6-12 we see it even affects their obedience to God.

6 "For I am the Lord, I do not change; Therefore you are not consumed, O sons of Jacob.

7 Yet from the days of your fathers You have gone away from My ordinances And have not kept them. Return to Me, and I will return to you," Says the Lord of hosts. "But you said, 'In what way shall we return?'

8 "Will a man rob God? Yet you have robbed Me! But you say, 'In what way have we robbed You?' In tithes and offerings.

9 You are cursed with a curse, For you have robbed Me, Even this whole nation.

10 Bring all the tithes into the storehouse, That there may be food in My house, And try Me now in this," Says the Lord of hosts, "If I will not open for you the windows of heaven And pour out for you such blessing That there will not be room enough to receive it.

11 "And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, So that he will not destroy the fruit of your ground, Nor shall the vine fail to bear fruit for you in the field," Says the Lord of hosts;

12 "And all nations will call you blessed, For you will be a delightful land," Says the Lord of hosts.

        I need to make a confession. I've always thought that Malachi 3 was about tithing; about money; about giving. In fact, I've preached a three-part series on Malachi 3:8-12 entitled, God's Guidelines for Giving. But as I studied this passage in the larger context of the book of Malachi I came to a striking discovery.  The people's lack of giving wasn't a financial issue, it's really about worship.

        This isn't about your wallet or purse, it's about your heart.  And Jesus says, ''Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.'' One of the most practical and tangible ways our hearts are revealed is through our giving.  We could argue all day about tithing, but in the end it's really about worship.

        How would you feel if you went to the doctor and he told you that you had an infection?  Because of all of the wonderful pollen taking residence in your ears, nose, throat, and lungs, you've developed a sinus infection.  Your head is pounding, your throat is sore, your ears are stopped up, you're miserable. Then, what if the doctor said, ''OK, for your headache here's a Goody's powder. For your throat, here's a cough drop and some cough medicine. And some ear drops for your ears. That should help you feel a bit better.''  What kind of doctor would that be? He would be a fired doctor as far as I'm concerned!  Because your headache, sore throat, and stopped up ears are only symptoms of a deeper problem. They reveal that there's a bacterial infection. You can't just treat the symptoms; you have to treat the problem.

        I think that sometimes I've been like that doctor.  I've challenged you to give and tithe faithfully and rebuked you when you didn't. But in the end, your giving is really an indicator of something much bigger. It reveals the status of your heart. Lack of giving is a symptom of a greater problem; it's really about worship.

        And this is exactly what we learn here in Malachi 3:6-12. God's people give evidence of a greater problem when they fail to obey Him.

        We need to see several aspects to this greater problem that Malachi is showing us.  First he is showing us an unchanging God in verse 6.  The people have accused God of inconsistency and unreliability. They blame God for their problems and will not listen to His rebuke.

        The people were guilty of many serious sins.  The priests were offering blemished animals in religious ritualism. Many were divorcing their wives to marry unbelieving women. They disobeyed God's laws by withholding tithes. And they accused God of loving them halfheartedly because he had not prospered them adequately.

        The people complain about God's inconsistency, but He remains the same. God responds in verse 6 with a scathing rebuke.  6 "For I am the Lord, I do not change; Therefore you are not consumed, O sons of Jacob.”

        The verse could be translated, ''Because I, God, have not changed, you, the sons of Jacob, have not perished.'' The point is that if God were the kind of unfair and unfaithful God they charge him with being, who

acted randomly on the basis of momentary convenience, He would have put an end to them long ago.

        God never changes!  The point here is that the love of God outweighs his judgment.  God is ever faithful and true. The Jews should have been grateful that God was unchanging in His nature, His purposes, and His promises, for if He were not, He would have consumed them. 

        Einstein said that the reason he could construct the theory of relativity was because there is one thing in the world that is unchangeable.  That one thing, the speed of light, is the only constant in this physical, material universe.  Light travels at the rate of around one hundred and eighty-six thousand miles per second- seven times around the world at the tick of a clock. The unchanging nature of the speed of light points to the unchanging nature of the God who made light!

        Aren't you grateful that God doesn't change? 1 John 1:9 says that He is ''faithful and just to forgive us our sins.'' God is faithful to His promises and just toward His Son who died for our sins.

        Next week we will continue to see aspects to this greater problem that Malachi is showing us as we see an unrighteous people in verse 7