Malachi 3:5-12

            “You people are robbing me, your God.  And, here you are, asking, ‘How are we robbing you?’ You are robbing me of the offerings and of the ten percent that belongs to me.  That’s why your whole nation is under a curse.  I am the LORD All-Powerful, and I challenge you to put me to the test.  Bring the entire ten percent into the storehouse, so there will be food in my house.  Then I will open the windows of heaven and flood you with blessing after blessing.”
            When God feels cheated and lays-down a challenge, then things probably aren’t going so well.  The point to derive from this word from God is not to legalistically make sure you are giving your due, although that would help.  God was upset because the people simply were not generous.  And they weren’t generous because they didn’t trust that God would take care of them.  The people were much too busy with their own stuff, their own houses, and their own situations.  They were much too busy making money, tending to their families, and making sure the mortgage payment was in on time….  Are we still talking about ancient Israel?
            Do what you need to do for God, and trust him for the rest – that is the principle God is looking for us to follow.  Give without holding back and you will find a generous God at the other end doing the same.  Wouldn’t that be a much better situation than the one you’re now in?


            Generous God, you give and give again, even though we are fickle and only give when we feel like it.  I trust in you to care for me in all things, including my finances.  And I will celebrate your faithfulness when you meet all my needs and more through Jesus Christ my Lord.  Amen.

Malachi 2:10-3:1

            They were faithless to one another; faithless to their wives; and, so, faithless to God.  God is described as actually being weary by lots of talk, but no faithful presence and action.  So it was the context and situation for this last little prophecy of the Old Testament.  The answer we are left with is that a messenger will be sent to prepare the way of the Lord.  He is coming, and it will be soon.
            Keeping the end of our lives and of history in mind helps bring greater clarity and purpose to the present.  Since Jesus is returning and coming soon we are to be faithful.  Faithfulness toward God means faithfulness to the significant people close to us.  We can pray and attend church and offer many words to God, but if we do not have a faithful presence and commitment to our families then God will not look with favor upon us.
            We are told twice in these verses to “guard yourselves in your spirit.”  It is necessary to monitor the condition of our souls and be in touch with the state of our spirits so that we remain faithful.  There must be a willingness to nurture our inner selves so that the outward actions reflect faithful commitment.  There needs to be vulnerability with oneself and submission to basic accountability structures so that we are aware of strengthening the inner person.  Rather than embrace a rabid individualism, communal and certainly familial dedication is a primary way of pleasing God and realizing his blessing upon us.
            Sovereign God, the One who sees and knows all, help me guard my spirit so that I will be faithful in all I do and in all my relationships with others, especially my own family and spouse.  Strengthen my soul to remain dedicated to seeing the coming of Jesus in all his glory.  Amen.