Lifelines: Who? Me?
by By BETTIE MARLOW Banner Staff Writer
Sep 21, 2012 | 731 views | 0 0 comments | 4 4 recommendations | email to a friend | print
In spite of all God had brought them through and after all the victories He had given them, Israel still asked, “How have you loved us?” — like a belligerent child to its father. Would you believe that Israel had to be convinced of God’s love to them? Well, this was the first problem that Malachi addressed.

God said, “If I am your father, where is the honor I should receive? If I am your master, where is the respect you should have for me?”

“You have said some strong things against me,” the Lord said. God spells out their transgressions. “You have defiled me with polluted bread on My altar. You give me the leftovers. You give me what is unfit to give to anyone else.”

“Who? Us? What did we say?”

God played the record back to them — “It is vain to serve God.”

“What’s in it for me?”

“We see the arrogant happy, and the wicked exalted; and even those who challenge Him escape punishment.”

And you know what the people said. “Who, me?” Their reaction was a telltale sign of their feigned innocence.

Surely Israel knew that God could see exactly what they were up to. And yet, they fully expected Him to bless their wickedness. The priests, too, had joined in their sins, and brought contempt on the house of Levi. No longer was the table of the Lord revered, but was scorned. Malachi likened their actions, “... ye have snuffed at it’’ to a cow not liking its food and blowing on it so that no other animal would eat it either. This was an insult to God. They had broken their covenant, not only with God, but with one another — even the marriage covenant was held in disdain.

The Lord said, “You have wearied me with all this.”

“Who, me?”

“Yes, you!”

He told them, “You have robbed me.”

”Who? Us? How have we robbed you?” They were determined to quarrel with God? Because Israel persisted in her wickedness, God warned them of impending judgment. He answered them, “In tithes and offerings.” And He tells them because of the curse this brought, their crops failed, the cattle were not producing and all because they were failing to support His house.

But God makes them a promise — He doesn’t give up even when His children are disobedient.

“How shall we return?”

He tells them if they will quit this foolishness and, as we would say, “straighten up and fly right,” then the windows of heaven would open and there wouldn’t be room to contain the blessings. Not only that, but He would rebuke the devourer “for your sakes and he shall not destroy the fruits of your ground; neither shall your vine cast her fruit before the time in the field.”

Prove me, He said. But I cannot bless you over what you’re doing now. He also knew those who feared Him — who encouraged one another and honored God in their thoughts and actions.

“I’ll remember,” He said, and “they will be mine in the day when I make up my treasured possession.”

How blessed to be a part of God’s “treasured possession.”