Convos With My 2 Year Old Season 2 Episode 1 Healing in His Wings – Part 2

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Healing in His Wings – Part 2

Looking at Malachi, who knows what treasures we will discover! It 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 will share 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 opened to it, revealing to me the verse I have always wondered about, “the healing under his wings”. (Mal. 4:2) But, as I have begun to study, perhaps the timing is exactly what the Lord has commanded. We will see.

My Study Bible gives us some background. This writer, Malachi, is only mentioned here in this book of the Bible. It is believed that he may actually be the Prophet Ezra, writing under a pseudonym. Mal’aki means ‘My Messenger’. Whoever wrote it, it is clear that he loved the people of Judah and the temple ceremonies required of this covenant people. The prophet Nehemiah also hails from this period, around 450 BC. (Read his amazing leadership story in the book that bears his name)

Now Malachi is the last in the line of 12 minor prophets, inspired men of God, who carried God’s messages to His chosen people over a period of 1000 years. Wow. That’s a lot of emails! (Consider the comparison: wireless communications! Ha ha.)

Malachi is “charged” with this message he says in the first verse. Throughout Israel’s history, this covenant people have heard vessels of God, both prophets and kings, assure them of his love…and justice. Time and time again, like you and me, they have failed in their covenant promises to honor and worship the Lord, to obey His commandments, and to serve Him alone.

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

Malachi takes over the instruction of the children of Israel after their Babylonian exile. The people of Israel lived in a restored community in the land of Palestine. Despite their past negative experiences, they returned to immoral and neglectful attitudes. Instead of “learning their lesson”, so to speak, of repenting and worshiping the God of their ancestors Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, spiritual decline is again at hand.

Have you ever found yourself stuck in a losing cycle? You just can’t break a habit or behavior? Or have you ever seen 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 right there: “Loaded for his people.” Knowing how much grace, forgiveness and love was available to them, if only they would turn from their sin and obey their God, must have frustrated and even irritated Malachi. Now he had a message to deliver: an invitation to enter into a restored relationship, (again) or face the judgment to come, for God is a righteous King, full of love and mercy, justice and of peace.

How many times have I done things my way, I’ve struggled, I’ve become hopelessly frustrated and even angry when I can’t make everything go the way I planned. I know part of the reason is that I left God out of the equation. I hear Jesus’ words 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) These two verses, and many more, call us to surrender and submit to God’s plan and allow Him to direct, guide, and arrange things for our good.

But, we can be so stubborn! I know from experience that the path of life is more rocky and difficult when I don’t include my Savior. Why is my first inclination always to take control, to rush, certain that I have to figure it all out, fix, clean, solve, rinse and repeat? I suppose you could call it human nature, or pride, or as the wise king Solomon said “There is a way that seems right to a man, but his end his end is the way of dead”. Proverbs 14:12 Solomon was so insistent that he wrote that same verse three times! Proverbs 16:25 and again 12:15 with a twist on fools ignoring advice.

As soon as I repent, invite him to do what he wants, what a difference! My burden seems lighter, the path is made clearer, and no matter the outcome, I know God’s hand is upon me and He will lead me to safety and “make all things new!” No matter my mistakes or my wrong intentions, God will bring good out of evil. This is one of his many promises for which I am so grateful. (Gen 50:20) One day I will tell you how he turned our tax nightmare into good.

Verses 1-8 are written as questions and answers. I like this. God is in conversation with his people through his prophet. We are always welcome to approach God with our questions. Moreover, he is omniscient and already knows what is in our hearts. So wander, plead and bless, thank 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 ask for proof (!) of this love that God has for them. I’m sure they must be feeling sour grapes about the destruction of their city and the ensuing 50-year exile in a foreign land.

Israel had a poor record of being fully invested in this covenant relationship. They proved it over and over again by worshiping other gods, intermarrying with other groups of people, and as noted here in verses 7 and 8, they even brought polluted offerings to the altar of God. How could they bring less than the best, the chosen lamb or bull or what you have for the sacrifices? Did they think that God would not notice that the animal was blind, or spotted in some way? Would the smoke and flames obscure the sight of the Holy Almighty God, Yahweh, I Am Who Am?

And you and me? Are we bringing less than our best to the Lord in what we do with our time, talent, and money? What about our life of thought, our choices of entertainment, our speeches, our activities? Are we making time to spend with him in serious, focused worship and conversation? Are we regularly attending joint church with other believers and growing in our knowledge and understanding of God’s word?

To those who might read this now and think, “We’re going in with the list of do’s and don’ts that I hate so much about religion,” may I suggest, indeed, that the Old Testament was about guidelines for an alliance agreement. The very fact that it was so difficult, if not impossible, to observe every detail, laid the groundwork for the need for a Redeemer, a Saviour, One Who could stand between us and the judgment of God as an intermediary. , as the Ultimate Sacrifice Who would take the punishment we deserve. No human could fit this bill. Only Jesus Christ, the perfect Son of God, could make this global payment for covenant breaches. This is why he is called “The Lamb of God”.

The gospel, the “good news” is this: thanks to Jesus, faith is now about relationship with God, not lists of rules. It is about acknowledging the great gift of His sacrifice on the cross at Calvary to pay the price for our sin. Now, with deep gratitude, we respond with a desire to love him as he loved us and to live as people who desire to bring him pleasure every moment, because we belong to him… He bought our freedom and our forgiveness with his good life! That’s 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 to “present yourself as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God” (Romans 12:1).

But, without conscious daily effort, the distractions in my life can destroy my best intentions. We are weak and busy, busy, busy. All the more reason to enjoy a season of rest and silence every day before the King. All the more reason to rejoice in what Jesus Christ has done 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 ignoring the covenant. It is a fundamental law of life: there are consequences! They have paid many times over the centuries. Here, Malachi warns them to “go through the motions” of worship in temple ceremonies, without a sincere heart or better offerings. Now remember, it’s God speaking through Malachi. God is hurt by such dishonour! He asks, do you also treat your mother and father with this kind of dishonor?

For today, let’s close with verse 9. Regardless, God always, always reaches out and offers His acceptance to even the wickedest of sinners. (That would be you and me, my friend.) His desire is to show grace, he says. Ask for God’s favor to be gracious to us, showing compassion, forgiveness, generosity and kindness.

No one is beyond the reach of our loving God. I pray that you live under its influence.

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