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God’s Word for You

Malachi 3:13-15 What’s the point?

by Pastor Timothy Smith on Tuesday, May 4, 2021

13 Your words against me are harsh, says the LORD. You ask, “How have we spoken against you?” 14 You say, “Serving God is pointless. What have we gained by carefully keeping his requirements and by walking around like mourners before the LORD of Armies? 15 Now we will call the arrogant blessed. Even evildoers are built up. They even test God and get away with it.”

Malachi was speaking against the grumbling Jews, but this passage also speaks against the grumbling me’s and you’s. The Jews had been given all the promises about the approach of Christ, which was getting closer and closer every day. Eve thought she might see him when she brought forth her “man” (Genesis 4:1), but that man, Cain, turned out not to be the Savior. And that’s how it was for every Hebrew mother for generation after generation. Things didn’t seem to be changing. Their nation was barely hanging on. So they started asking, “What’s the point?”

When a believer gives in to the temptation to ask such a question, the devil pounces. Questioning God’s will is how he tempted Cain, Eve’s darling little man who fell into unbelief and murder. The sinful believer wonders why the arrogant are blessed while we walk around like mourners all the time. Why do evildoers get away with it? Why do the wicked test God without getting struck by lightning?

For Malachi’s people, there had been a fairly recent prophet who had asked the same things himself. God told him: The wicked will be destroyed in a destruction so complete that Jerusalem will be torn down as well. “They laugh at fortified cities. They build earthen ramps and capture them” (Habakkuk 1:10). But God has a plan for his people, and the righteous will live because they have faith (Habakkuk 2:4).

Sometimes believers get caught up in the idea that being a Christian means that we will have fabulous prosperity in our lives. That’s not God’s promise. The Lord allows the wicked to be carefree, to become wealthy,  so wealthy that they don’t know what to do with all of their things. But all of that is just so much slippery ground. It’s a test that they fail. “How suddenly they are destroyed, completely swept away by terrors!” (Psalm 73:19). Whoever serves God because he wants to profit by it is going to have a hard time of it in the judgment. “Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?” But the Lord will say, “I never knew you” (Matthew 7:22-23). Think about what you truly treasure. “For where your treasure is, there your heart will also be” (Luke 12:34). When we treasure Christ, our hearts are in Christ, and his great gift of salvation is our greatest treasure.

Keep trusting in Christ. If you have a hard time of it, rejoice in your sufferings, because suffering produces perseverance and builds character (Romans 5:3-4). But whatever our waiting and our daily struggles, we also know that we have a Savior from our sins, a place with God at his side, and a home in heaven forevermore.

In Christ,
Pastor Timothy Smith

Pastor Tim Smith

About Pastor Timothy Smith
Pastor Smith serves St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in New Ulm, Minnesota. To receive God’s Word for You via e-mail, please contact Pastor Smith.

 

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