“Your words have been hard against me, says the LORD. But you say, ‘How have we spoken against you?’ You have said, ‘It is vain to serve God. What is the profit of our keeping his charge or of walking as in mourning before the LORD of hosts? And now we call the arrogant blessed. Evildoers not only prosper but they put God to the test and they escape.'” – Malachi 3:13-15
Scripture reading: Psalm 73:1-28
The people weren’t directly shaking their fists at God. Rather, they were complaining to one another, but the LORD knew their hearts. He always does, of course! He knows all that we think or say. What is their complaint? It is vain to serve God. What is the profit of our keeping his charge or of walking as in mourning before the LORD of hosts? (3:14). You can almost hear the disdain in their voice. What’s in it for us if we serve God? The word for “profit” refers to a weaver cutting a piece of cloth free from the loom. The idea is that these people expected their “cut” or percentage and they were grumbling because they believed the LORD was not giving them their fair share.
Whenever we grumble about our circumstances or wrong treatment, we are really elevating ourselves above God. I’m trying to serve You LORD, but all I get is trouble. The arrogant and evildoers are prospering and seem to escape judgment. I also deserve some happiness. Perhaps we even say, “God doesn’t truly love me because He would do more to make me happy.” Does Christ exist to make you happy? Is He your personal vending machine to give you what you want? Be careful! The flesh is inclined to self-pity, self-focus and self-centredness. Christ came to save you from the guilt and judgment of your sin. What’s in it for you if you serve the LORD? More than you can imagine when you think about eternity!
Suggestions for Prayer: Ask the Lord to help you see what you have in Christ when you feel like grumbling. Thank the Lord that we can truly have rest for our souls in Christ (Matthew 11:28).
Rev. Michael Jaatinen is the minister of Mount Zion Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church in Moncton, NB.