The Just and the Wicked

The just and the wicked.  Where do I fall?  Most days I think I fall on the side of “the just.”  But honestly, most days I don’t really think about it.  I just go about life.  I obey most of the laws of man, other than perhaps a traffic violation here or there.  So I think I fall on the side of the just…  but what about God’s law?

Today the Bible opened to Malachi:

You have said, “It is useless to serve God; what do we gain by observing God’s requirements, And by going about as mourners before the LORD of hosts?  But we call the arrogant blessed; for evildoers not only prosper but even test God and escape.”

Then those who fear the LORD spoke with one another, and the LORD listened attentively; A record book was written before him of those who fear the LORD and esteem his name.  They shall be mine, says the LORD of hosts, my own special possession, on the day when I take action.  And I will have compassion on them, as a man has compassion on his son who serves him.

Then you will again distinguish between the just and the wicked,  Between the person who serves God, and the one who does not.

Malachi 3:14-18

The just and the wicked.  Those who serve God and those who do not.  Hmmm.  Not as confident anymore as to where I fall.  It is certainly easier to serve myself, or even to serve the human master, than to serve God.  God is more challenging.  Why?  Why is it more challenging to serve God?

I think, in part, it is because we don’t get the immediate gratification that we might get when we serve ourselves or follow the rules that man has set.  Like in Malachi, it may seem that we can prosper without ever serving God.  Serving God is harder because we don’t get a trophy or a sticker or a “good job” or any of the material or visible rewards that the world offers.  We may not even know for sure if we are doing the right thing.  Unlike all of the things on earth that may result in visible reward, serving God requires us to have faith.

I don’t think serving God is supposed to be about a reward or prospering.  If it is — then aren’t we just serving ourselves?  Isn’t love about being selfless?  God wants us to choose to love Him, to choose to serve Him — not because we gain some reward, but because we want to be with Him.  We choose Him.  We place Him first.  We know that we cannot earn our way into heaven, it is only through God’s grace and mercy that we can enter His kingdom.  Serving God, showing our love, is how we show we want to be there. God calls us to have faith.  He calls us to do more.  He challenges us to be the best we can be.


I want to serve you.  Thank you for challenging me to be better.


God’s Love

I don’t believe there is a better place for the bible to open than to these words:

I love you, says the LORD

Malachi 1:2

Plain words.  Easy to understand.  And yet, easy for us to forget.  But even when we forget, God calls us back.

Since the days of your ancestors you have turned aside from my statutes and have not kept them.

Return to me, that I may return to you, says the LORD of hosts.

Malachi 3:7

I love you Lord!  Your love is undeniable, unwavering, all encompassing. Your love is faithful, even when we are not.  Thank you!  I want to know your love so deeply.  I want to know how to love like you do.


Return to Me

How many times does God call out to us to return to Him?  It seems like a recurrent theme in the Bible.  It doesn’t matter what we do, why we turn away, or how many times we turn away.  God is always there patiently waiting and calling us back.

Today the Bible opened to Malachi:

Return to me, that I may return to you, says the LORD of hosts.  But you say, “Why should we return?”

(Oh wow — don’t we do that?  What’s in it for us, we ask)

Can anyone rob God?

I have reread this line several times, trying to understand what it is saying.  God seems above being robbed — how can we take anything away from the one who has everything.  But maybe that is just it.  We take Him for granted.  Because He is always there and we know we can screw up and still return to Him, I think we (or at least I) take Him for granted and don’t pay attention to the hurt that we cause when we turn away.  He has plenty of others who are much better than me, what does He care if I turn away.  As I reread this passage what I am struck with is, HE DOES CARE!  How amazing and important is that?!

But you are robbing me!  And you say, “How have we robbed you?”  Of tithes and contributions!  You are indeed accursed, for you, the whole nation, rob me.  Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, That there may be food in my house.

Put me to the test, says the LORD of hosts, And see if I do not open the floodgates of heaven for you, and pour down upon you blessing without measure!

Malachi 3:7-10

Although this passage talks about tithes and contributions, it seems to be much more than that.  Trust me God says.  Let me show you.  Put me to the test — put your faith in me — let go of your worldly possessions, your money, your fears that you will be without — put your faith in me “And see if I do not open the floodgates of heaven for you, and pour down upon you blessing without measure!”

Dear God,

I am sorry for all of the times I have robbed you, robbed you of my heart, my trust, my faith and my tithe.  I do not want to turn away from you again.  Thank you for calling out to me again and again.