3 Reasons Why Animals Should Not Be Kept In Captivity Healing in His Wings – Part 2

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Healing in His Wings – Part 2

As we look at Malachi, who knows what treasures we will discover! This is the joy of studying, praying, and listening to God’s instructions, as well as learning from scholars and commentators. I am not a scholar. I am a lover of God and His word. The things I share come from my heart, and I hope you share them from your heart too.

Now, as I wrote in my last article, Part 1 of this series, this study is a spontaneous inspiration because my Bible was opened before it, revealing to me the verse I have always wondered about, “healing in His arms” . ” (Mal. 4:2) But as I have begun to study, perhaps the timing is exactly what God ordered. We will see.

My Bible study gives us a little background. This writer, Malachi, is only mentioned here in this book of the Bible. It is thought that he may actually be the prophet Ezra, writing under a pen name. Mal’aki means ‘My Messenger’. Whoever the author was, it is clear that he loved the people of Judah and the temple ceremonies required of this covenant people. The prophet Nehemiah also comes from this time period, around 450 BC. (Read his incredible leadership story in the book that bears his name)

Now, Malachi is the last in a line of 12 minor prophets, inspired men of God, who gave God’s messages to His chosen people over a period of 1,000 years. Wow. That’s a lot of emails! (Consider the comparison: wireless communications! Ha ha.)

Malachi is “burdened” with this message that he says in the first verse. Throughout Israel’s history, this covenant people has heard from God’s vessels, both prophets and kings, assuring them of His love and justice. Repeatedly, just like you and me, they turned away from their covenant promises to honor and worship God, obey His commandments, and serve Him alone.

The biblical fathers in Israel’s history, judges, prophets, good kings and bad kings give us a picture of the ups and downs of a people, just like in modern times. It was during the Babylonian captivity, about 587 BC that Jerusalem was destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar and the people were taken away for about 50 years, but for a small remnant of peasants to work the land.

Malachi receives instructions for the children of Israel after their exile in Babylon. The people of Israel lived in a restored community in the land of Palestine. Despite their negative experiences in the past, they returned to immoral and careless attitudes. Instead of “learning their lesson,” so to speak, repenting and worshiping the God of their forefathers Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the spiritual fall is again at hand.

Have you ever found yourself stuck in a losing cycle? Just can’t break a habit or behavior? Or have you ever watched a loved one make the same bad choices over and over again, then wonder why life is so hard and they can’t find joy, peace or success?

I think Malachi was in that very place: “Charged for his people.” Knowing how much grace, forgiveness, and love was available to them if they would only turn from sin and obey their God must have frustrated and even angered Malachi. Now, he had a message to give: an invitation to enter into a restored relationship, (once again) or face the coming judgment, for God is a righteous king, full of love and mercy, justice and peace.

How often have I done things my way, struggled, been hopelessly frustrated and even angry when I couldn’t make it all work out as planned. I know part of the reason is that I left God out of the equation. I hear the words of Jesus ringing in my ears: “My grace is sufficient for you, for my strength is made perfect in your weakness” 2 Cor. 12:9 or in the Sermon on the Mount “Blessed are the poor in spirit”. (Matt. 5) Both of these verses, and many others, call us to surrender and submit to God’s plan and allow Him to lead, direct, and arrange things for our good.

But, we can be so stubborn! I know from experience, life’s path is more treacherous and difficult when I don’t include my Savior. Why is my first instinct always to take control, to rush forward, sure that I have to figure it all out, fix it, clean it up, solve it, rinse it and repeat it? I guess you could call it human nature, or pride, or as King Solomon the Wise said “There is a way that seems right to a man, but the end of it is the way of death”. Proverbs 14:12 Solomon insisted so much that he wrote the same verse three times! Proverbs 16:25 and again 12:15 with a twist about fools who ignore counsel.

As soon as I repent, invite Him to follow His way, what a difference! My burden seems lighter, the path is made clearer, and regardless of the outcome, I know that God’s hand is upon me and He will lead me to safety and “make all things new!” ” Regardless of my mistakes or wrong intentions, God will bring good out of evil. It is one of His many promises that I am very thankful for. (Gen 50:20) Someday I will tell you how He turned our IRS nightmare into good.

Verses 1 – 8 are written in the form of questions and answers. I love him. God is in conversation with His people through His prophet. We are always welcome to approach God with our questions. Besides, he is omniscient and already knows what is in our hearts. So go forth, pray and bless, give thanks and praise, for God desires a relationship with His people. This fact is repeated throughout Jewish history. It is also our Christian heritage.

I noticed that people are looking for proof (!) of this love that God has for them. I’m sure they must feel some sour grapes about the destruction of their city and the subsequent 50 year exile in a foreign land.

Israel had a poor history of fully investing in this covenant relationship. They proved that from time to time by worshiping other gods, marrying other people groups, and, as noted here in verses 7 and 8, they have even brought defiled offerings to God’s altar. How could they bring less than the best, choice lamb or bull or what have you for sacrifice? Did they think that God would not notice that the animal was blind or damaged in some way? Would the smoke and flames obscure the view of the Holy, Almighty God, Yahweh, I Am He?

What about you and me? Do we bring God less than the best in what we do with our time, talent, and money? What about our thought life, our entertainment choices, our speech, our activities? Do we find time to spend with Him, in worship and seriously focused conversation? Are we regularly attending a community church with other believers and growing in our knowledge and understanding of God’s word?

To those who may be reading this now and thinking, “Here we go with the list of do’s and don’ts that I hate so much about religion,” may I offer, indeed, the Old Testament it was about the instructions in a covenant agreement. The very fact that it was so difficult, even impossible, to observe every part of it laid the foundation for the need of a Redeemer, a Savior, Who could stand between us and the judgment of God as a mediator, as the One. The ultimate sacrifice Who would take the punishment we deserve. No man could fit that bill. Only Jesus Christ, the perfect Son of God could fulfill this comprehensive payment for failures to keep the covenant. That is why He is called the “Lamb of God.”

The gospel, the “good news,” is this: Because of Jesus, faith is now about relationship with God, not about lists of rules. It is about recognizing the great gift of His sacrifice on the cross at Calvary to pay the price of our sin. Now, with deep gratitude, we respond with a desire to love Him as He has loved us and live as people who desire to bring Him pleasure at every turn, because we belong to Him…He bought our freedom and our apologies with long life! This is what colors our choices, love, not rules.

“Now to those who belong to Christ there is no condemnation.” (Romans 8:1) What great love indeed.

I take seriously Paul’s instruction in the New Testament to “pray without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:17) and “present yourself a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God” (Romans 12:1).

But without conscious effort every day, the distractions of my life can undo my best intentions. We are lean, and busy, busy, busy. All the more reason to enjoy a season of rest and silence before the King each day. All the more reason to rejoice in what Jesus Christ has accomplished for us. What do you think?

Malachi reminds the remaining colony of returning Jews that God still loves them, but they had to pay some consequences for not keeping the covenant. This is a fundamental law of life: there are consequences! They paid many times over the centuries. Here, Malachi admonishes them for “going through the motions” of worship in temple ceremonies, without sincere hearts or better offerings. Remember now, this is God speaking through Malachi. God is hurt with such dishonor! He asks, do you treat your mom and dad with this kind of dishonor?

For today, let’s end with verse 9. No matter what, God is always, always reaching out and offering His acceptance to even the worst sinner. (That would be you and me, friend.) His desire is to show grace, she says. Ask God’s approval that He will be merciful to us, showing compassion, forgiveness, generosity and kindness.

No one is beyond the reach of our loving God. I pray that you are living under His control.

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