If you were here last week, one of the things I said was that it is important that the people charged with passing on God’s word, God’s message to his people, do not duck or modify the things that God has to say but that are hard for us to accept or hear. Then we come from there to the material before us this morning, and I am immediately met with a passage that it is extremely tempting to skip, and to jump straight from halfway through Malachi 2 to the beginning of chapter 3.
Don’t you hate the politician’s answer? They don’t give you a straight answer to the question they’ve just been asked, because they worry about what you will think of them if they do.
When people who teach about God do this, it is tragic, because if there is a God nothing matters more than knowing what he’s like, than knowing what he requires of us, than knowing how we can get to be in his good books, than being able to be certain that we are in his good books and so we are secure for eternity.
We’re continuing to look at the gap that there is between God’s great love for, us his blessings to us, and our response to that.
It’s a good thing to think about at harvest time, because harvest is when we call to mind the rich blessings that God gives us in so many dimensions and areas of life. To do that, and then to look at what our response both should be and is, is a very fitting exercise to do.
So, we’re looking this morning at the mismatch between God’s great love for us, and our response to that love. So: I know in myself that God’s love is really very great. It’s a very big and wonderful thing. But if you were to read how much God loves us from how I respond to him, you would not get the impression that God’s love is very big and very wonderful. There’s this gap which is a big gap, and that’s what we’re thinking about.
That Bible reading is set in the world of animal sacrifice which means it seems a bit remote. It's hard for us to relate to, to connect to. We don't have animal sacrifices today and hopefully most of you think that's a very good thing indeed.
“Do you love me?”
It’s a question we sometimes ask of each other. We question the way someone acts towards us. Does this person really love me?
We ask it of God as well. When life takes a sour turn, or is just plain flat. When tragic illness strikes, or you lose your job. “God, do you love me?”
That’s the question we’re asking this morning, as we look at the opening verses of the book of Malachi.
Malachi is the last book of the Old Testament.