March 9, 2015
READ: Malachi 1:1-5, 3:6-18
“I have always loved you,” says the LORD (1:2).
I was talking with a friend whose marriage had ended in divorce. For years he tried to apologise and to rebuild a relationship that was broken. His wife, however, was bitter over an event that she couldn’t forgive—or forget. The event involved a loving act he had done to help her, but she didn’t see it that way. And her heart became stone.
The prophet Malachi brought a message of love and forgiveness to God’s people. Though they had sinned against God and had for decades been brutally carried off into exile as a means of His discipline, they had been permitted to return to their homeland. Knowing they were beaten down from their experiences in Babylon, God said to them, “I have always loved you” (Malachi 1:2). The people, cynical and sceptical, retorted, “Really? How have you loved us?” God then declared His control over human events and His promise to deal with Judah’s adversaries (vv.2-5)—something very loving!
Later, He said, “I am the LORD, and I do not change” (3:6). Had He allowed His people to be brought into captivity due to their sin? Yes. Did He love them enough to do so? Yes. Had He patiently waited for the returned exiles to repent of their lack of true worship and to stop doubting Him? (vv.7-8,13-14). Yes.
God stood before His people offering unchanging love and forgiveness. But He also sought the right heart response: “Those who feared the LORD spoke with each other, and the LORD listened to what they said” (v.16). Of those faithful believers God said, “They will be my own special treasure” (v.17).
Due to difficult events, perhaps your heart for God has grown cool and has started to harden. Remember that He waits for you with open arms (Luke 15:20). You’re the special treasure He loves—always!
365-day plan: Judges 7:1-25
Read Psalm 103:1-5 and consider David’s view of God’s love and forgiveness.
What difficulties have caused you to doubt God or to turn from Him? How does the fact that He always loves you encourage your heart today?