“A Love Lost”
Amidst the numerous problems and promises presented in the book of Malachi, specifically in the last two chapters, we see a beautiful entreaty between the Lord and his people who are devoid of His love. The whole testamental system was somewhat lost not only to the generation at that time, but also directly toward those charged with keeping the “fire of His presence” ever burning; the priests or Levites.
Considering this prophecy begins by declaring a “burden” shared by Jehovah God to His people, the entire book takes on a new aura as the numerous problems and promises presented therein are cast against a love lost somewhere in translation between the heavens and the realm of creation. No wonder we have such a span of time between the testaments while the Lord set the stage for the world to be turned upside down coinciding with the birth, death and ascension of the Morning Star. It is in this liturgical and historical context that the obscure contemporary Malachi voices the endearing words of the Lord to recognize, repent and return. One of the most striking sections of this prophecy is the response of a select few that heard the musings of many of that time and YET set their hearts and minds in a different direction. The third chapter of Malachi records these words. From here, the vision is cast for what I believe is a promise to those that would dare to “remember” in these last days:
14 You have said, It is useless to serve God, and what profit is it if we keep His
ordinances and walk gloomily and as if in mourning apparel before the Lord of hosts?
15 And now we consider the proud and arrogant to be happy and favored; evildoers
are exalted and prosper; yes, and when they test God, they escape [unpunished].
As I read these words, I can’t help but think of the spiritual composition of our nation and the great slumber that many are currently in. We are a people devoid of our one true love, silently gliding effortlessly toward destruction, exhausted by the treadmill of religious performance, and yet we remain staunchly indifferent to complete and total surrender toward the same Jehovah God that centuries after this book was written hung in human form on a crude fashioning of rough hewn timbers.
Jesus, the Morning Star, is and will always be our one hope to find life that is really life. It is with little wonder that the Lord’s declaration of love in the opening line of this book, even for us today, seems such a stark contrast amidst an endless sea of hazy gray. Relativism and complacency line the walls of our universities, conference rooms and coffee shops. Even many of our religious institutions by and large are overtly Christ-less. We live in an age where an entire industry thrives that peddles prayer cloths, eloquent acrostic sermons in downloadable digital format (for a small donation), and the never ending sea of self-help idealism that could not be more polluted than it already is. Could we be the “Malachi Generation?”
6 Then those who feared the Lord talked often one to another;
and the Lord listened and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before Him of those who
reverenced and worshipfully feared the Lord and who thought on His name.
It is refreshing to see that a remnant remained even in Malachi’s day. This remnant spoke “often”, one to another. The Hebrew for this phrase denotes the kind of fellowship that close friends would share, and yet this is further accented by the fact that the Lord heard and literally “listened in” just like an observer to a conversation leans in to hear in intricate detail what is being said. Additionally, these were no mere strangers that chanced meeting together. Having a common purpose, these were intent on remembering the great deeds of Jehovah in the past. They stood erect, shoulder-to-shoulder amidst the many unanswered god-to-man relational questions of that time. Notice the theme of these unified believers – unity, worship and prayer, but more finely focused, the lifting of their voices before the throne of God in adoration (reverence) – i.e. “worship”, coupled with the lost art of thinking on His name, which in essence is a simple sharing of our heart to His and most importantly His to ours in quiet contemplation – i.e. “prayer”.
17 And they shall be Mine, says the Lord of hosts,
in that day when I publicly recognize and openly declare them to be My jewels (My special possession, My
peculiar treasure). And I will spare them, as a man spares his own son who serves him.
The great promise of this chapter is the Lord’s intended deliverance of His people in these last days as His treasured possession. As Paul later said, “we have this hope like a firm anchor for our souls”. We can rest on the firm foundation that this hope will never disappoint us.
18 Then shall you return and discern between the righteous and the wicked,
between him who serves God and him who does not serve Him.
Are we not seeing an ever-deepening division between those that are desperately committed to giving all of themselves to their Lord and Savior and those that are not? Just like in Malachi’s day, the time is coming when true and authentic will be a stark contrast to modern and “culturally relevant”.
For behold, the day comes that shall burn like an oven, and all the proud and
arrogant, yes, and all that do wickedly and are lawless, shall be stubble; the day that
comes shall burn them up, says the Lord of hosts, so that it will leave them neither
root nor branch.
Again, this hope we have been freely given is something to rejoice in; and yet what will bring woe and sorrow to so many will with vivid contrast bring God’s sons and daughters tremendous joy. Jesus said that weeping and gnashing of teeth is the “hope” for those that choose another path…those who gamble at their one chance to attain spiritual victory. So if the true hope that we as believers profess does not renew us, dare we ask ourselves what we are hoping upon? A tie line firmly fastened with skill and fortitude is meaningless if strewn to the wrong object. Why else would scripture exhort us to lift up our head and hasten the rapid expedience of this day?
There is a deep element of trust that makes our hope secure. The world by comparison can only hope in what it sees. So, is this hope the by-product of an obsessive desire to survive, namely that we would fix the sum of our spiritual well being upon the totality of our efforts? No! We must remember that our Father in Heaven will spare us as a “man spares his own son who serves him.” It is time to shift our perspective to those around us who do not yet have this hope. To vacillate and cling to unsure footing is to succumb to the fear and uncertainty that is already washing over our nation.
2 But unto you who revere and worshipfully fear My name shall the Sun of
Righteousness arise with healing in His wings and His beams, and you shall go forth
and gambol like calves [released] from the stall and leap for joy.
I can think of no greater act of worship toward our Lord than to run through the wide-open fields before us with hearts fully alive. It is the whole intent of the closing appeal of this book that we turn to the Lord, willfully yielding all of who we are to Him; and in so doing, receive the promise of “healing” and “freedom”. It is then, and only then, within the matured reality of coming alive that love is no longer lost…