Focal Passages: Malachi 3:13-4:6
“What’s in it for me?” Israel asked that question in Malachi’s day, and many Christians today are tempted to do likewise. Programs and dreams of prosperity can cause us to think that the Christian life is about How God and His church can serve us. Like John the Baptist (John 3:30), we must make it our desire to give Jesus a higher place in our lives as we become less. When we do so, the question becomes, “What’s in it for Him?” By seeking God’s glory our spiritual priorities are properly aligned and we discover that His glory blesses us beyond any paltry thing we would seek on our own. He saved us to glorify Him!
The Bible reminds us as Christians that we are God’s own possession (1 Peter 2:9). As a child of the 80s, I saw certain teen girls wearing airbrushed t-shirts with slogans like, “Property of Billy.” Amazingly, a few weeks later the same girl might be wearing a new shirt declaring a new owner. Before we knew Christ, we had a tendency to sell ourselves to the world’s highest or most influential bidder. When God saved us, our title was transferred for the last time. We belong to God through the saving work of Jesus. We know this not because of a shirt, bumper sticker, or crossed fingers, but because of the fruits of new life in Christ.
For Israel in Malachi’s day, true believers’ lives were marked by spiritual discernment and preparation for judgment. They rejected wickedness and anticipated God’s reward of His faithful followers. Believers hear the Shepherd’s voice and follow Him (John 10:27).
Although we live in a time that prizes the bigger, better thing, God continually calls us back to the timeless truths of His Word. Malachi’s contemporaries were directed back to the ancient law of Moses, and told that God would once again send Elijah to call God’s people to repentance and restore their broken relationships. John the Baptist would come in the spirit and power of Elijah (Matthew 17:10-13), calling God’s people to repentance and rolling out the red carpet for the Lamb of God Who would provide redemption from sin.