As you know, our Bible reading plan has featured a theme passage from each book of the 39 books of the Old Testament on 39 subsequent days. And today we feature a key Bible passage from the last book of the Old Testament – Malachi.
“I the Lord do not change. So you, the descendants of Jacob, are not destroyed. Ever since the time of your ancestors you have turned away from my decrees and have not kept them. Return to me, and I will return to you,” says the Lord Almighty. But you ask, “How are we to return.” (Malachi 3:6-7)
God had been faithful the Jews. When they were disobedient, the LORD loved them enough to discipline them. Yet in His care, He was always faithful to restore them when they turned back to Him. In our scripture for today, the Jews had been restored to their homeland after generations of captivity. This was a time of great rejoicing.
Yet, by the time of this book of the Bible they had begun a slow decline into degeneracy. Sorcerers prayed to false gods, adulterers were unfaithful to spouses, perjurers lied in court to harass and steal from the innocent, laborers were deprived of wages, and widows, orphans and foreigners were oppressed. To warn these unfaithful people, God sent the prophet Malachi to proclaim on behalf of the LORD, “Return to me!”
The television show “Intervention” features stories of addicts who are so out of control their health and very lives are in danger. At the end of each show, family and friends gather to “intervene” with a combination of expressions of love combined with strong language and radical actions to save these addicts before it is too late. And, we all like these addicts, need an intervention every now and then.
The strong language of the Old Testament prophets serves as our intervention. The Old Testament serves to jar us into attention, to wake us from our slumber, to threaten us with judgement, and to finally lead us to repentance. “Return to the Lord!” the Malachi complained, but the people asked, “How are we to return?” We know the answer is only through Jesus Christ who is God incarnate. We return to God by relying upon God to bring us to Himself. We radically surrender our lives to Jesus as the only way to be saved.