Bob Mayo, Stonepoint Member
It’s the Sunday after Christmas and here on the prairie, it is stormy, rainy and cold. I actually enjoy days like this, especially when I don’t have to go anywhere. But I do worry about my friends the cows, horses, camels and the lone zebra I have seen around. I hope they are all safe.
Since today is the 27th I have had some time to think about things and do a little reflection. I have been thinking about how I am going to approach Bible reading and study for 2016. Today, I finally have a plan. As far as reading I am just going to start the usual thing I have done in the past and that is to start reading in Genesis and Matthew and just read through. I don’t really care if it takes me one year or three years to finish. But as far as my other times with the Lord I hope to get into some study and dig into things. I have been studying the minor prophets and plan to continue with that. Actually, I started today with the book of Malachi and that is what I want to talk a little about today.
Just as a background, Malachi was written after the 70 years of captivity of the Jewish people. God worked out several things to put the people back in Jerusalem. He moved King Cyrus to make a decree to allow the people to go and rebuild the temple. He provided the right leaders and the right time to get the job done.
With all of that, one would think that the Jews would be grateful and obedient but the soon fell into the old routine of becoming lax and lazy with their worship of God. So, in this case, God sent Malachi to point their sins and bring the people back to reality. Malachi pointed out several sins of the people. No wonder why the Old Testament Prophets were so unpopular!!
The first sin Malachi pointed out was that the people doubted that God loved them (Malachi 1:1-5). Despite several evidences to the contrary, the people still doubted. The most plain evidence is found in Verse 1:2a where God plainly says, “I have loved you,” but the people retorted with, “how have you loved us?” Then God goes on to explain several proofs of His love. I won’t go into them here. Suffice it to say that God has always stated and shown His love for His people. Even in times of chastisement and judgment, He still loved them.
As I read and studied this today, I couldn’t help but to think how timely this is for us today. Where is our Love for God. Do we truly love Him with all of our heart, soul and might (Deuteronomy 6:5). I had to confess that my love is often one-sided, half-hearted and lethargic. It is interesting that in the book of Revelation, the first sin that God talks about in His message to the seven churches is that the Ephesians had left their first love!” (Revelation 2:4). How easy it seems for us to take God and His love for granted.
I pray for myself and the church in general, that we will do whatever it takes for us to renew our love and trust in God. This has been a hard year for me as I am sure it has been hard for many of God’s people. If you are like me, you look around you at your own life and at what is going on in the world, and we ask, “where are you God?” It is a hard saying, but God owes us nothing. Nor does He often give us an explanation for His actions. Why should He, He is God!!! But He still deserving of our love, trust and reverence.
The Bible says the just shall live by faith. I pray that this year for us at Stonepoint will be a year that we grow in faith and love for Our Lord!! And that our love for Him will result in an increase of humility and service toward and for Him. God give us grace and strength to follow Him closely in 2016. God bless you!!