“You are more sinful than you could dare imagine and you are more loved and accepted than you could ever dare hope.”
– Timothy Keller –
Even when He was angry, God started out with the good news. “I have loved you” (Malachi 1:2).
I often come to passages like this with a preset attitude: “What terrible people those Israelites were! Look at all God did for them, and were they thankful about it? No!”
But in Malachi 1, as God exposes the calloused hearts of His chosen ones, I am afraid that I stand guilty as well. God declares his love, but in the next breath, I too often say, “What love are you talking about? Prove that you love me.” (verse 2).
He sets me apart as one of His dear children, but I wonder if He is really treating me better than those who are not His (verse 3).
I deny my lack of honor, show surprise that He would say I’ve done something wrong (verses 6,7).
Too much, I offer Him my leftovers — leftover energy, leftover love, leftover time. And yet I persist in thinking that I’m doing beautifully spiritually (verse 8).
After all He has done, when I can just look around at any time and see the works of His majesty, I still somehow grow weary of pursuing the One whom my soul loves. Weary of trying to understand. Weary of seeking His ways (verse 13).
All this brings me down, to my knees, in repentance…And He lifts me up.
“There is more mercy in Christ than sin in us.” – Richard Sibbes
Because — look back at that first pronouncement of His:
“I have loved you.”
Striking, isn’t it, that our God begins with that assurance. Yes, He contrasts it with our doubt of His affection. But first, right as He is about to deliver the thunder, He first gives the rain, “I have loved you.”
Related Post: Four Words
In his commentary on Malachi 1:1-5, Matthew Henry writes:
“The Israelites shall be made the monuments of his mercy, and he will be glorified in their salvation….”
When I read that this morning, I latched on to that one phrase, “monuments of his mercy.” Because that’s what we are.
All His chosen ones are monuments to mercy.
Whatever strange winds may blow on me today, I have this anchor. He loves me. Whatever failures I may fall into yet again, I know this: He loves me. Despite my dishonor, my perpetual amnesia of His grace, my quickly-wearied mind– He loves me still.
Today, I am a monument to His fantastic, immense mercy. He will be glorified in my salvation, no matter how much I blunder and fall. His work is being completed, and His beauty is coming to rest on our heads.
Remember today that you are a monument to His mercy — a visible picture to a watching world. As each day goes by, may our inscriptions become ever clearer:
“To the one who is able to protect [us] from falling,
and to present [us] blameless and rejoicing before his glorious presence,
to the only God our [S]avior, through Jesus Christ our Lord,
belong glory, majesty, power, and authority,
before all time, now and forever. Amen.”
– Jude 25-26, CEB –