You have wearied Him by saying that all who do evil are good in the LORD ’s sight, and He is pleased with them. You have wearied Him by asking, “Where is the God of justice?”
~Malachi 2:17, NIrV
“The same sun which melts wax hardens clay. And the same Gospel which melts some persons to repentance hardens others in their sins”
~C. H. Spurgeon
The Jews that Malachi preached to had a bad attitude. They had a victims complex. They blamed everyone except themselves for their problems. Eventually, they blamed God. They accused him of favoring the wicked and questioned His moral judgment. Basically, they were saying, “God is not holy.” This is a very strong accusation and one which God did not appreciate in the least.
Bill Patterson, a former IMB missionary and now DOM of the Green Valley Association in Henderson, Kentucky, tells the story of Robert Shelton. Robert had a bad attitude and it was reflected in his job performance. He made a habit of showing up late and he never took responsibility for his mistakes. Robert always found someone else to blame. His boss grew weary of Robert’s attitude and excuses: he called Robert into his office and gave him his pink slip. Robert protested vehemently, he was the victim of injustice. Robert was not a victim of injustice; the company was not downsizing. His loss of employment had nothing to do with the economy. Robert had been given plain instructions to do a job he was capable of doing but he did not follow his instructions. Neither would he take ownership for his failure to perform his task. He said to his boss, “You’ve had it in for me from day one and so did everyone else. You gave me a task that was too difficult, no one could please you.” Robert was doing what Robert had always done: he was making excuses, laying the blame on others. This was the fifth time he had been fired and yet he took no personal responsibility. Do you know any Robert Shelton’s? Robert had trouble finding his sixth job; when the job offer became available, it came with a condition–Robert had to go through counseling. He was desperate so he agreed. During the counseling, he came to grips with his real enemy, himself. Robert stopped blaming others and began to learn from his mistakes.
The Jews of Malachi’s day were like Robert Shelton: they blamed everyone except themselves, they even blamed God. There is a great spiritual truth in this story: When those who are walking closely with God experience hardship, the hardship brings them closer to God. However, when people are in rebellion against God, hardship makes them bitter, not better. Instead of repenting their anger toward God intensifies.
One other thing: you are getting on thin ice when you accuse God of being unholy. Job, Jeremiah and David all questioned God on the prosperity of the wicked but they were simply confessing their doubt and it came from a hurting heart. These Jews are accusing God of being unholy and it is coming from hardened hearts. Do you have a heart of wax [soft, pliable] or do you have a heart of clay [hard, impenetrable]?
Day two of the WBS went well. God is good. I am very grateful for the opportunity. There is room for improvement. Malachi is a good study. It took me a while to get into it but I am enjoying my study and preparation. It is hard to believe that this is the last day of February and we are less than two weeks from Daylight Savings Time.