I’m still in Malachi! I’m fascinated by the conversations between God and the people . They continue to question God! They were following all their customs/ traditions, they were the temple praying and making their offerings but they were far from God and did not realize it. God called them out on numerous wrongdoings and instead of repenting or checking their ways, they retorted with questioning God on His words and accusations against them.
- Really? How have you loved us?
- How have we not honored your name?
- How have we defiled the sacrifices and offerings?
- Why doesn’t the Lord accept my worship?
- How have we wearied you?
- How can we return to you if we’ve never gone away?
- What do you mean? What have we said against you?
- What’s the use of serving God?
Malachi and our places of Worship today
When I read this I think of our churches. We sit so comfortably in our pews, make lunch plans with our church friends, sit in a bible study, send in a donation, maybe volunteer here or there but does that make us right with God? If we aren’t obeying Him and living for Him, we deceive ourselves to think we are close to Him. In the many churches I’ve been in, I have seen and met some of the nastiest, self righteous , mean people. I was in one study where they made it obvious they didn’t want me or my group to join them. They were so rude , if anyone in my group spoke they would ignore them and talk over them, if hadn’t been a long standing Christ follower, I would have given up on Christianity right there . Of course, I’ve also met wonderful Christ following believers, but some are not. Malachi reminds me our churches today- God asks – Are you really doing this to honor me or honor you? You are wearing Me down with your sins . Are you loving others as I have loved you? Return to Me and I’ll return to you- and I can just see many saying – “What are you talking about God? How can we return when we never left you.”
MY HOUSE IS NOT YOUR CLUB.
I want to share something that happened to me years ago- about 16 years ago. I was in a moms group, wonderful group of church going friends and I still meet up with them years later (in fact next week!) We went to church and bible study together as well as meet ups for our kids. I had recently met a new friend who wasn’t like the friends in my group. She was divorced, like to go out to clubs at night, had 2-3 kids and I enjoyed my time with her. We would meet for lunch or a class at the gym and I soon invited her to my church. There was a large woman’s conference upcoming at the church and I invited her to go with me, she was excited about going and I told her I would call to confirm time on that day. I told my church friend group that I had invited my new friend and one of the moms wasn’t happy. She didn’t like her, she told me I should not have invited her and that she didn’t belong . She finally said, if you come to the conference with her, you are not sitting with us and neither of you will sit at our table and eat with us. I was a little taken back to hear this. I hadn’t encountered something like this before. The day of the conference rolled around and my day had been long and torturous, I was not in the mood for any drama or attitude at church that night and as I drove I began to wonder about my options…… should I bring her and deal with the possibility of a nasty welcome with my friends? Should I ignore them and go with her? Ugh, I just dont’ want to deal with this. Maybe, I thought, I should tell her I’m not going and that will end everything. As I sat and pondered excuses in my head, I heard loud and clear within my heart “ MY HOUSE IS NOT YOUR CLUB” Wow! That scared me! I was just thinking to myself how I could get out of this as I was driving and suddenly words that were not my own were heard loud and clear. It felt like it shook me. I quickly and fearfully called my new friend and invited her that night, the words I heard so loudly in my heart over took any other thoughts I had. When I called she was so excited, she said she had just finished telling all her neighbors about the conference she was going to with me. Anyways, she went and she sat with my group, and they asked me why I brought her. I told them the Lord told me His house is not my club, the words silenced us all. One of my friends responded “Well that would have done it for me too.” A great lesson for all of us – His house is not our clubhouse. We ended up sitting next to the ex in laws of my new friend and they all got up and hugged her, it was a wonderful evening.
Another recent situation happened in a church, the words spoken were so unwelcoming but I don’t know if the person knew how she was coming across. I think we each need to be careful of our words and our attitude with others especially in God’s house. We don’t pick and chose who comes to God. Consider some of the biblical heroes : the prostitute Rahab, Moabite Ruth (Moabites were israels enemies) Paul who was killing Christ followers, Peter – who denied Jesus 3x, God even spared Cain after he killed his brother, God spared Jacobs sons despite the sins of murder and other things they had done. Esther, an orphaned girl, and Jesus :
For He shall grow up before Him as a tender plant,
And as a root out of dry ground.
He has no form or comeliness;
And when we see Him,
There is no [beauty that we should desire Him.
Moses was the most humble man on earth, God is searching for a heart like this. In fact, if you study those who are chosen, are chosen because of their heart. Read more on having a humble heart.
Search me, O God, and know my heart;
Try me, and know my anxieties;
And see if there is any wicked way in me,
And lead me in the way everlasting. ps 139
I usually write longer posts and I have more to share in Malachi 3-4 but I want to stop here and hope the words of God sink into your heart. Check your walk with Him, repent of your sins. Ask God to search your heart and see if there is any way in us that is not pleasing to Him.
Am I helping to make my church a House of Prayer to the Lord?
Have I backslidden from God’s ways?
How is my prayer life?
Who do I need to forgive?
What sin in my life do I need to get rid of?