DEVOTION: ARE YOU CONVINCED THAT GOD LOVES YOU?
DEVOTION: ARE YOU CONVINCED THAT GOD LOVES YOU?
The book of Malachi is the last book in the Old Testament Canon and rightly so because of his message and the time of his prophetic ministry. Malachi is the last of Minor Prophets who ministered to the Jewish people after their return from exile. The temple had been built and the wall of Jerusalem had been rebuilt. In fact there is evidence that the people were more established and were flourishing again as a nation. Right at the onset, in chapter one of this book, we encounter a complaint from the Jews who had survived the exile. They began questioning and doubting God’s love. Scripture does not give us reasons why they doubted God’s love for them. It is possible that when they compared their nation before and after the exile, they couldn’t help but see great loses in their nation’s wealth and infrastructure. In response to this complain, God said,
I have loved you,” says the Lord. But you ask, ‘How have you loved us? Malachi 1:2a
Then God gave the following evidence:
Was not Esau Jacob’s brother? declares the Lord. Yet I have loved Jacob, but Esau I have hated, and I have turned his hill country into a wasteland and left his inheritance to the desert jackals. Malachi 1:2b-3
God points them back to the election of their father Jacob to be the recipient of God’s promises to Abraham. In a sense, God is challenging them to look back to their ancestral history, and they would then be able to see the evidence of God’s Love for their nation as a people of God.
In addition to this, God gives the following evidence
Edom may say, “Though we have been crushed, we will rebuild the ruins.” But this is what the Lord Almighty says: “They may build, but I will demolish. They will be called the Wicked Land, a people always under the wrath of the Lord. You will see it with your own eyes and say, ‘Great is the Lord—even beyond the borders of Israel! Malachi 1:4-5
In this evidence, God is challenging them to compare themselves with the descendants of Esau, the Edomites. The Land of Edom had been desolated. Even though they seem to have rebuilt it, God said, He would eventually destroy it. True to His word, the Edomites were eventually destroyed. And as we speak, the Edomites are non-existence. They were completely destroyed through annihilation or intermarriage or both. There exists not a
nation call Edom today.
But in contrast to the Edomites, the descendants of Jacob, the Israelites, had survived all kinds of challenges. Even the Babylonian captivity could not destroy them. And this is evidence of God’s love.
1. Do you doubt the presence of God’s love in your life? If so look back to your history including your ancestral history and you will be able to see God’s love in your life.
2. But God’s Love is not only present in our past; it is also present in our lives today. Therefore, if you are not convinced about the presence of God’s love in your history, then look around your life today. Without a doubt, you will notice that God is at work in your life today and even at this very moment you are reading this devotion. The fact, that you are able to read this is evidence of God’s love in your life.
a. There is nothing more dangerous in the life of Christian than a Christian who thinks or believes God does not love him or her.
b. Take a few moments to write down the evidence of God’s love in your ancestral history
c. Now write down the present evidence of God’s love in your life today.
3. Our tendency is to look forward to what we need and want to the neglect of what we already have in the present. This desire or greediness to have more has led many to doubt God’s love in their lives. Yet they are ignoring what God is doing in their lives today. You cannot judge God by a shopping list saying that if God gives me this and that, then I know He loves me. Neither should you judge God by what He gives you in comparison to what He has given to other believers. If you cannot be grateful for what God has given you today, how will you be grateful for what He will give you tomorrow?
4. It seems to me that these exile survivors took offense against God because of their 70-year captivity in Babylon. But that was not God’s doing, they brought it on themselves. Many times we get ourselves in trouble or incur God’s discipline in our lives. Instead of seeing our faults and repenting, we begin to complain about God. Instead of seeing God’s discipline as a form of God’s love for us, we conclude, “God hates me.” Here is a verse to always keep in mind concerning the rationale behind the discipline of God.
And have you completely forgotten this word of encouragement that addresses you as a father addresses his son? It says, “My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline, and do not lose heart when he rebukes you, because the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and he chastens everyone he accepts as his son. Hebrews 12:5-6
5. In fact, some people go as far as saying, “why didn’t God prevent me from doing this?” Yet the truth of the matter is this; every believer who sins, does it in rebellion to God’s word. God will never leave you without several warnings of the danger of what you are tempted to do. In addition, the voice of the Holy Spirit in your life will always sound an alarm for you to run away. But you must obey
6. The truth is this; God is at work in the lives of every believer whether you see it or not. The key is to learn to appreciate each and everything God has done/or/is doing in our lives today and in the past.
See what great love the Father has lavished on us,
That we should be called children of God!
And that is what we are!
I John 3:1a
So I ask
ARE YOU CONVINCED THAT GOD LOVES YOU?
By Pastor Shadrack Ruto