Weekly Word from Bro. David
November 10, 2016
From The Pastor's Heart:
We're in Malachi 3 today, looking at only three verses. But these three verses have the potential of being some of the most convicting verses we've studied in this series. I've entitled the series, Going Through the Motions. And tonight, we see one of the results of going through the motions. It leads to: thinking only of yourself, whining, fussing, and complaining. So, from Malachi 3:13-15 I want to talk to you about this subject, be a winner, not a whiner. Malachi says: 13 "Your words have been harsh against Me," Says the Lord, "Yet you say, 'What have we spoken against You?' 14 You have said, 'It is useless to serve God; What profit is it that we have kept His ordinance, And that we have walked as mourners Before the Lord of hosts?
15 So now we call the proud blessed, For those who do wickedness are raised up; They even tempt God and go free.'”
There were many sayings in our house growing up. My parents would say to me, “Truth builds trust.” They would also say, “When you get in a bind, do not whine.” But the one I remember most was this, “Be a winner, not a whiner.” Now that I'm a dad, I find that I said that to my son as well. If there's one thing I can't stand, one thing we don't put up with, it's whining. One of the sayings in our house was, “We don't do drama!” I just can't stand whining!
Well here, that's all the people of God are doing. They are whining and complaining about their problems. They are whining about serving God. They are complaining because God doesn't do what they expect Him to do.
Let's be honest though, we have all come to find ourselves whining at some point or another. You know as well as I do that it doesn't stop once you become an adult. In fact, some of the biggest crybabies I know have kids of their own!
But whining and complaining is always a symptom of a deeper issue. It tells us something about who a person is. What's the difference between one person who has joy in the midst of struggles and the other who crumbles under their weight? What's inside a person will eventually come out. The same is true with God's people in Malachi. We see that their whining is evidence of a greater problem.
First, it is evidence of self-deception: vs. 13 “Your words have been harsh against Me,” Says the Lord, “Yet you say, 'What have we spoken against You?’ ”
Once again, through Malachi, God brings an accusation against His people. He says, “Your words have been hard against Me.” In other words, the people are saying harsh things about God. And once again, as we have seen continuously, instead of heeding this rebuke and responding in repentance, the people of God respond in rebellion and arrogance. “Yet (But) you say, 'How have we spoken against you?' ”
This is a familiar pattern of interaction between God and His people, in which God speaks of what the people or doing wrong, and they deny it. We see three important things about the people, which reiterate what has gone before.
First, they are unconscious of their many sins. Second, they automatically disbelieve, question, and contradict God. And third, they are slow to learn, as they keep on making the same mistake, committing the same sin of doubting God's words.
In chapter 2 we see that they had wearied the Lord with their words. But now, their words are “harsh” against the Lord. The word literally means “strong” or “hard.” It gives the idea of boldness or arrogance. Once again, like we see in 2:17, they are not addressing the Lord to His face; they are simply gossiping and spreading lies about Him.
In contrast with the blessings the Lord extended to Israel (v. 12), the sixth oracle charged the people with speaking harsh things against the LORD. This was more than a contrast in tone, for the people's harsh words contradicted the promises reaffirmed in verses 10-12.
But when they are confronted with their sin, once again they act as if they've done nothing wrong. ''How have we spoken against You?'' Again, typical of Malachi's style, the spiritually insensitive people were portrayed as ignorant of the sin.
Here we see a deeper problem than outright denial. The people were absolutely deceived. This is why the letter of James gives a solemn command and a stern warning: James 1:22 says, “But be doers of the word, not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.” These people had denied God for so long that they had begun to deceive themselves.
A school teacher lost her life savings in a business scheme that had been elaborately explained by a swindler. When her investment disappeared and her dream was shattered, she went to the Better Business Bureau. “Why on earth didn't you come to us first?” the official asked. “Didn't you know about the Better Business Bureau?” “Oh, yes,” said the lady sadly. “I've always known about you. But I didn't come because I was afraid you'd tell me not to do it.” The folly of human nature is that even though we know where the answers are, God's Word, we don't turn there for fear of what it will say.
Too often we hear the voice of God, the Spirit of God, and the Word of God, but we choose to live in ignorance instead admitting the problem.