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How the Book of Malachi Spoke to Me in My Indifference & Doubt Towards God



Before beginning my study of Malachi, my relationship with God was not at its peak. I missed two Bible studies (which is A LOT to me), and I really was not having very many positive feelings towards God. I was mad and confused and so very tired of waiting, and I lost the words to pray. I was struggling, let me tell you.


And then I began studying Malachi.


Suddenly, my heart began to soften a little bit. I began feeling God's presence again, little by little. I began engaging with Scripture again. I was feeling challenged, validated, and encouraged, all at once. My heart was shifting and being renewed, and I knew it.


Here's how.


The entire book of Malachi is addressing the Israelites "areas of improvements" (to say very, very nicely) and doubts in their relationship with God, which is exactly what I've been working through with God.


Right in the second verse, the Israelites are asking God how He has loved them - which sometimes I find myself asking too. Sometimes I feel so overwhelmed with the things that I feel like God isn't doing that I forget to pay attention to all the things He is doing, just like the Israelites.


Already, this book is calling me out a little bit too much, while putting my feelings and questions into words I didn't quite have at the time, and that is so freeing.


And as I saw myself in this book of the Bible, not only was I freed because it was so relatable, I was freed because the truths God spoke to the Israelites were so clearly spoken to me too. I understood what the Lord was challenging and encouraging His people with because that was the very thing that I needed to be challenged and encouraged with as well, and that was such a blessing.


The most beautiful thing about the word of God is that it is alive and active. If I had read Malachi a few weeks, months, or years before, I would not have been encouraged in this same way. God can speak so clearly to us through Scripture, personalized for our situation and our heart struggles. Open your heart to allow God to see your struggles, and I promise, He will speak to you in some incredible ways.


God met me in my struggle, my indifference, and my doubt by speaking to me and challenging me so clearly through Malachi. And I am so grateful for the ways that He revived my heart throughout this book of the Bible - one that I would not have usually dove into.


So, here are three big things that the Lord taught me and encouraged me through Malachi!


1. God has loved you, even in your questioning.

Like I mentioned earlier, in the second verse of Malachi 1, the Israelites asked God how He had loved them. But instead of getting angry or rejecting them, God reminded them about how He has loved them and specific examples of how He has chosen them. And man, how needed to be reminded of that. Because in our questions and doubts, God still meets us with abundant love and grace, and that never changes.


I read a commentary about this verse, and one commentator interpreted it as, "I have loved you, I do love you, I will love you." Below that in my notes, I wrote "God chooses you unconditionally; He looks at you and desires you."


Let that settle in for just a minute. The pure beauty, perfection, and faithfulness of the love of God is so stunning to me, and it blows my mind every single time. Sometimes we forget how madly in love God is with us, and how He truly just desires a relationship with us. He doesn't expect us to have it all figured out, to never have questions or doubts, but instead, He just wants to walk through that with us. And I really needed to hear that.


2. Be careful not to be blind to your sin or ungrateful for your ministry.

God took some extra time to speak directly to the priests of Israel about the ways that they were not honoring Him in their ministry. (Isn't it so beautiful how God communicates with us so gracefully and gently?)


However - the priests had no idea what they were doing wrong. They genuinely thought that they were doing the right thing, when in reality, they were defiling the Lord's altar in alarming ways. They were blind to their sin, and it created such a separation between them and God.


It's easy for me to judge and criticize them, but too often, I can do the same thing. I feel like I'm doing well, staying on top of everything I have going on, doing my Bible study, getting things done. But without true, daily reflection, I become blind and unaware of the ways that I'm falling short. Not a day goes by where I am perfect and have nothing to repent from, and so when a day goes by that I haven't surrendered and repented at the feet of Jesus, I'm acting just like the Israelite priests. Now that is a very convicting thought.


God also called out the priests for complaining about their ministry, declaring it a burden and developing an ungrateful heart for His calling on their life.


Again, I wish I couldn't ever see myself doing the same thing, but if I'm being completely honest with myself, sometimes I do.


God has blessed me so miraculously with so many ways to minister to the people around me and serve His kingdom. At school, with the blog, in my team, at my youth group - He's entrusted me with so much! But sometimes, instead of seeing those things as a blessing, I complain. I complain about how much work it is, how much effort it takes. I'm missing the entire point that God wants to use me in big ways by focusing on myself instead of the bigger picture and leaning into Him for strength. And man, when I read about how the priests were complaining about their calling, I wanted to jump up and praise the Lord for mine, because what a blessing it truly is.


3. We are all united.

In chapter 2 of Malachi, verse 10, it says,


"Do we not all have one Father? Did not one God create us? Why do we profane the covenant of our ancestors by being unfaithful to one another?"


He's getting ready to talk about divorce, but it also challenged me in my relationships in general. Malachi is reminding us that we, humankind, are all united because we are all created by God, loved and cherished by Him. Essentially, we are all a family.


Yet, too often, we choose to hate. We choose envy and bitterness. We choose lying and disloyalty. We backstab and gossip. And in doing that, we are "profaning the covenant of our ancestors". In other words, we are rebelling against the plan and design God has for His people.


Dang.


God has been opening my eyes lately to my tendency to rebel against this plan for unity. I too easily fall into bitterness, comparison, and envy, disregarding the beautiful intentions God has for the body of believers and people as a whole. This verse, so blunt and convicting, has been challenging me and the way I interact with the people around me. Do I choose to be faithful to the people God has put in my life, showing the same love and grace God has shown me, or am I unfaithful, quick to judge, gossip, and become bitter? One way is showing submission to the Lord's good plan, allowing Him to create a beautiful community, while the other is disobeying and rebelling against what God wants to cultivate. One way rebels against the culture, while the other falls into exactly what our culture is teaching. One way brings to real, joyful relationships, while the other will leave us lonely and heartbroken.


I think I know what I'm choosing.

 

Even if nothing that I learned from Malachi encouraged you, I want you to walk away being reminded of the fact that God is ready and waiting to speak to you through His word. I don't know if you're at the mountaintop, having some peak experiences, or if you're wrestling and struggling in your relationship with the Lord in the valley, or somewhere in between. But no matter where you are, there is something that the Lord wants to tell you if you'll just open up His word. Read your Bible, friend, and our gracious God will transform you, make miracles come alive right before your eyes, and strengthen your soul.


Is there something in particular that the Lord has encouraged you with during your Bible study? What is God teaching you right now? Let me know down in the comments below; I would absolutely love to hear from you!

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