Read: Malachi 2:10-17
Review: “Do we not all have one father? Has not one God created us? Why do we deal treacherously each against his brother so as to profane the covenant of our fathers? Judah has dealt treacherously, and an abomination has been committed in Israel and in Jerusalem; for Judah has profaned the sanctuary of the Lord which He loves and has married the daughter of a foreign god. As for the man who does this, may the Lord cut off from the tents of Jacob everyone who awakes and answers, or who presents an offering to the Lord of hosts.
“This is another thing you do: you cover the altar of the Lord with tears, with weeping and with groaning, because He no longer regards the offering or accepts it with favor from your hand. Yet you say, ‘For what reason?’ Because the Lord has been a witness between you and the wife of your youth, against whom you have dealt treacherously, though she is your companion and your wife by covenant. But not one has done so who has a remnant of the Spirit. And what did that one do while he was seeking a godly offspring? Take heed then to your spirit, and let no one deal treacherously against the wife of your youth. For I hate divorce,” says the Lord, the God of Israel, “and him who covers his garment with wrong,” says the Lord of hosts. “So take heed to your spirit, that you do not deal treacherously.”
You have wearied the Lord with your words. Yet you say, “How have we wearied Him?” In that you say, “Everyone who does evil is good in the sight of the Lord, and He delights in them,” or, “Where is the God of justice?”
Record: When we enter a season of wilderness who is the initiator?
Considering our actions can be an involuntary step into the wilderness can you think of a time when you placed God lower on your priority list?
Reflect: “This is another thing you do: you cover the altar of the Lord with tears, with weeping and with groaning, because He no longer regards the offering or accepts it with favor from your hand.
When I consider these words in my own life I can’t help but think of unanswered prayers. Although there is no connection between a prayer not being answered and God being distant, there is sometimes a connection between God not answering a prayer and the need for our hearts to be turned towards God more specifically.
God wasn’t pleased with the Israelites offering because it was spoiled. They were not gifting the first of all that God was providing them. Instead, they were giving their leftovers. God is always more concerned with the state of our hearts rather than the tithe or offering. Just as the Israelites in Malachi I can exasperate God with my words and actions.
Sometimes this begins intentionally, other times it is a slow drifting away. A few cut corners without consequence that then turn into more frequent choices. The principle of the first is intended to help us keep our eyes, heart, and mind exactly where they need to be focused. On the provider of everything.
The wilderness isn’t as defining as I once thought it to be. It isn’t a place of shame and humiliation. It is the place where God called his beloved back to him.