Wednesday, March 28, 2012

For 3 Things God Will Destroy A Nation

Malachi 3:6,5 NLT

“I am the LORD, and I do not change … I am eager to witness against all sorcerers and adulterers and liars. I will speak against those who cheat employees of their wages, who oppress widows and orphans, or who deprive the foreigners living among you of justice, for these people do not fear me,” says the LORD of Heaven’s Armies."

For 3 Things God Will Destroy A Nation

Failing to Return to God, Cheating God, and Saying Terrible Things About God

1. Now Return To Me And I Will Return To You

“But you ask, ‘How can we return when we have never gone away?”
Those who do not recognize that they have gone away from God cannot return to him. This is a sad truth. A nation of people who do not believe they have gone away from God, which includes those who believe there either is no God or they are immune to his judgments, also cannot return to him. I worry because so few both in and outside the church say, “This is not God’s judgment.” It is culturally and politically incorrect to say so. Even major conservative Christian leaders have been intimidated into silence. Or, more grievous, public repentance for their words. They bow to the God of human reason and argument. Which is to say they turn their own backs on God as well.

2. You Have Cheated Me

What do you mean? When did we ever cheat you
The key word here is “cheated”. The concept, in Malachi, is failure to render what is due to God. Now those familiar with scripture will recognize for Israel God provide an example of one area in which they had withheld what was due to God – the tithes and offerings. Now under grace there is a disagreement about whether tithes are required or not. Due to that argument we have failed to address the issue of what offerings, what sacrifices, does the Lord require of people under grace? After all the New Testament is not silent on the issue of offering ourselves and our resources to God. However, the New Testament call can be summarized by a message from another Old Testament prophet:"He has shown you, O man, what is good and what the Lord requires of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God."[Micah 6:8 KJVThis is how we have cheated God. This is what is due to the Lord. This he says is what we have withheld and failed to render – as a nation; as individuals.

3. You Have Said Terrible Things About Me

“What do you mean? What have we said against you?”
We hardly know what the word “blasphemy” means today. In many circles it has be reduced to taking the Lord's name in vain. In a few circles, a little healthier, it means bringing disgrace on the name of Jesus or the Father. But blasphemy, bringing disgrace on the Name, and cussing are not the only ways "terrible things" are spoken about the Lord of Heaven’s Armies.

Consider the following examples God charged Israel with saying:
  • What is the use of serving God
  • What have we gained by obeying his commands?
  • What have we gained by trying to show the Lord Heaven’s Armies that we are sorry for ours sins.
  • From now on we will call the arrogant blessed…
               1)  because those who do evil get rich
               2) because those who dare God to punish them suffer no

In what way do we say, or live out, those same statements?

Or, are we simply among those who do not serve the Lord? Among those who are not obeying his commands? Among those who are arrogant claiming riches as their badge of blessing, proof of divine approval? Among those who have dared God to punish us and feel safe because he has not yet done so?

"I am the LORD, and I do not change!"

[from Malachi Chapter 3: a word to both nations and individuals]

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