During my study for the Koinonia young adult summer small group, I've been pondering the intensely applicable truths of Malachi. Malachi opens this word of the Lord with a tone of dire urgency. Malachi (meaning God's messenger) is sent to beckon a chosen people careening toward depravity to come back in line with God's commands. Malachi lays it all out before the priests, as ones with whom God entrusted the great responsibility of leading the people in God's ways. He then lays it all out before the general population of the Judah remnant (post-exile).
These are people with a tremendous heritage; chosen by God from humble beginnings. These are chosen people who clearly experienced the mighty delivering hand of Jehovah. These are chosen, delivered people who painstakingly endured opposition, judgment, and yet personally saw God's grace and preserving work. These are chosen, delivered, grace-endowed people who found themselves living back in Judea in a post-captivity-judgment (Babylon) period (now with more freedom under Persian rule) and awaiting the fruition of God's promises of a Messiah. While these are a chosen, delivered, grace-endowed, and expectant people with a rebuilt temple, they were also in Malachi's day a compromised, idolatrous, and polluted people. It is in this context that God sends Malachi to His wayward people.
As we reflect on Malachi's message and urgent rebuke, I can't help but see our own world in this book. We as the body of Christ are likewise a chosen, delivered, grace-endowed people living in light of Jesus the Christ's profound work of redemption. We like the Israel remnant also look forward with expectancy to God's promise of returning and final establishment of His Kingdom reign. Yet, we like the rebuilding Israel remnant in Malachi's day, also find ourselves often polluted and comprised by our sinful flesh.
One thing shines forth as a bold declaration amidst this bleak context. Amidst a deprave world and God's compromised people, God Almighty still sovereignly reigns and works His masterful plan of grace. He is King! His Name will be glorified among the nations! He will be feared! No matter how bleak the outlook--even amidst our own unfaithfulness--this IS our GOD! (Malachi 1:11, 14)
This leads me to ask myself, do I truly fear God? Do we as the body of Jesus, those with an amazing heritage of God's grace, truly fear God? I firmly believe like in Malachi's day, God is on mission much the same today. His Name will be feared among the nations. What confidence that brings! At the same time what humility and brokenness that should bring! Like in Malachi's day, we need a resurgence of redeemed men and women who become utterly broken over sin and relentlessly follow Jesus and His Word with hearts of amazed and humbled passion!
We're all too often like the lukewarm Laodicean church in Revelation 3:14ff. My heart goes out especially for those of my own generation, who all too often wain in our spiritual fervor and consistent passion for Jesus. Countless studies reveal the negative issues surrounding the "unchurched" population today. Countless studies reveal the shrinking tendency of young adults in the church today. I am very grateful for the younger gathering of redeemed men and women that God has assembled here at the Bible Chapel! May we the young adult generation (Generation Y) realize that we are called to be God's set apart and passionately involved people (the church)! We don't have to wait until some elusive future "adulthood" phase to serve in the church context. May we see God continue to raise up a passionate group of young adults in Soldotna Bible Chapel that relentlessly pursue Jesus and worshipfully seek to express their adoration of Him through passionate involvement. May we all (from all generations) see God's calling on our lives to continue pursuing His plan for us as the church to walk in His ways! May God continue raising up His called out, grace-endowed people here at Soldotna Bible Chapel to rise above the apathetic, cut-corners, empty religiosity that we read of Malachi's day!
An honest reading of Malachi reveals our intensely applicable hearts, so prone to wander, so prone to not walk in the Spirit, and so prone to walk through this life in apathy, void of a true passion for God. Like in Malachi's day, we go through the motions, we offer God pathetic half-hearted offerings of worshipful service, and we lose sight of resting in God's overall purpose in this life (despite our often bleak perspectives and circumstances). Maybe God would lead you to take a closer look at the book of Malachi, and I pray He will use it in your life as He continues using it in my life!
Lastly, I wanted to end this post with a quote from John Piper regarding our worship/fear of God:
"Missions is not the ultimate goal of the church. Worship is. Missions exists because worship doesn’t. Worship is ultimate, not missions, because God is ultimate, not man. When this age is over, and the countless millions of the redeemed fall on their faces before the throne of God, missions will be no more. It is a temporary necessity. But worship abides forever." (John Piper, Let the Nations Be Glad. p. 15)
May His Name be Praised,