I start teaching a class at church in the morning to a group of people in the middle part of life. (How’s that for diplomatic?) The youngest child of a person in the class is 4, the oldest are well into life on their own. There are several very young grandparents in the class.
Our topic? The Old Testament book of Malachi, the last book in the Old Testament. It is often overlooked, has no big label, isn’t known for a famous author. We’re going to take about five weeks on this book.
So why am I talking about it here? Because I’m going to occasionally talk about it here over the next few weeks and I figured I’d give fair warning. I’ll label these posts in the title.
What’s really interesting to me about this book is its style. It is a conversation of sorts, between God and some of the people called by his name. There are 7 times in this book where we read God saying, “I say this, but you say, ‘when did we ever…'”
It’s a style that is consistent with conversations heard in any house with a parent and a teenager. The parent points out a behavior. With a whiny voice the teen responds, “But Da-ud (two syllables), when did I do that?” And then the dad patiently explains what the problem is.
We don’t expect that kind of conversation with God. Except that we often live with that kind of conversation, unwilling to listen, unwilling to consider that God might have a point.
But perhaps the most unexpected thing is that the conversation starting with God saying, “I have loved you.” And then, after Judah says, “But how have you loved us”, we read about how a nation gets destroyed.
Somehow that doesn’t sound like love. But think about a husband who really loves his wife. I mean a lot. For a long time. And someone stood by while she was assaulted and kidnapped. And laughed. And taunted. What would we think if that husband just shrugged his shoulders and said, “whatever.” Wouldn’t we expect–even in our enlightened, calm, deliberative age–wouldn’t we expect that husband to be pretty ballistic?
God is that husband.
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