For February, we will focus on the Old Testament book of Malachi. In the prophecy of Malachi, we find that the LORD was not pleased with His people. The LORD had been put on the national “back burner.” He desires honesty and truth and rejects all hypocritical shows of paying lip service to Him. Worship had degenerated into nothing but an external form and the hearts of His people were not truly engaged. There was no powerful, dynamic relationship between the holy, covenant God and His people. Israel had allowed both their sacrifices and their attitudes toward the LORD to become “blemished.”
The church today must also be careful to offer acceptable worship to God through Christ our only mediator. We can fall into a place of complacency, rather than doing what pleases our covenant God. It is very easy to come to church week after week and to allow the worship of God to become mundane and old rather than dynamic, refreshing and reviving to your soul.
Ask the LORD to make Himself known to you afresh today. You come before the living God and He is glorious and exalted before you! Ask the LORD to help you see Jesus, the King, Who humbled Himself, was made in the likeness of sinful flesh for you, to take away your sin and make you righteous before the presence of His holiness. Malachi raises issues very relevant for us today and I trust this study will be very profitable for you this month.
The oracle of the Word
“The oracle of the word of the LORD to Israel by Malachi.” – Malachi 1:1
Scripture reading: Malachi 1:1-14
Malachi begins with an oracle of the word from the LORD to His people. An oracle is a means of revelation and points to a message that weighs heavily on the messenger or prophet. It is a message that is not to be disregarded or ignored, but to be taken seriously in light of God’s covenant Lordship over His people. However, as we will see in this chapter, God’s people will not take the LORD’s Word as seriously as they should and will argue against Him.
There is also a danger for us here because it is very easy, especially if you were raised in the church, to shrug your shoulders at the gospel, since you have heard it all your life. We hear, “God so loved the world that He gave His only Son,” and we nod, “That’s true (yawn)! Hey, did you hear about last night’s game?” or we want to talk about something else rather than the things of Christ.
Our response to Christ and the gospel should never be indifference. We need to praise and thank Him for His salvation as the One Who saved us from God’s judgment. Do you find yourself in that place, ho-hum the gospel? Have you lost joy in Christ and feel indifferent to the truths of the Bible? Don’t allow this fallen world to draw you away from Christ. His Word speaks to your needs. Where is your heart? How do you respond to Him? Seek Christ today to help you deal with apathy and coldness.
Suggestions for prayer
Ask the LORD to give you a fresh view of Christ today so that you do not become cold or indifferent to Him and the gospel. Ask the LORD to grant you fresh grace and strength for each day as you face the challenges of living in a fallen world.
Rev. Michael Jaatinen is the minister of Mount Zion Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church in Moncton, NB.