“Return To Me”

Imagine God writing personal letters through the Old Testament prophets to His people. Malachi received the last personal letter from God that the nation of Israel would receive until John the Baptist arrived on the scene more than 400 years later garbed in camel hair, with fire in his eyes who came out of the wilderness of Judea and with a loud voice crying out, “Make straight the way of the Lord.”

(John l:23).

It appears that the former exiles of Israel had grown weary of responding to the prophets of Yahweh and their calls for a renewed commitment to Him. They grew weary of hearing God's warnings of love to a people who had grown cold. Through the pages of Malachi, we see him speaking about bored priests/ministers and a hard-hearted, disobedient people who were only going through the motions of devotion to their God. They had come to the point that they had grown incapable of responding to His call or love for them. They were more or less going through the motions with no real heart or passion. It became just another job or duty that they 'had' to fulfill.

There isn't much known about Malachi's background, we can safely say that he had a difficult task of trying to reason with cynical people who had largely ceased to care about their relationship with God. When Malachi found a small group of men and women who did honor the Lord and were devoted to Him, he held them up high as an example to the rest of the people (3:l6, l7).

Malachi became Israels last hope or chance to listen and repent and nd restoration before judgment. He was their last chance to watch, repent, prepare their hearts, and be ready.

It was during this time, much had been accomplished in the nation of Israel. The wall around the city had been rebuilt and the temple had been rebuilt after being destroyed in 586 BC. Jerusalem might have been protected spiritually by God's presence, but there was a glitch in their armor through sin and spiritual apathy of the people.

Definition of apathy...We hear that word a lot but do we know the true extent of what that word means...Apathy...lack of emotion, lack of interest, indifference, numbness, coldness, hardness, insensitivity, disinterested, disregard.

Malachi spoke much of apathy and the many ways the people of Israel had broken their covenant with God through mixed marriages, neglecting to give God His tithe, bringing the worst of what they had as a sacrifice to God (l:6-l4), on a whim divorcing their spouses (2:13-16). What is even worse was the priests had become corrupt making themselves stumbling blocks for the people instead of true spiritual leaders leading them into the true spiritual life of their God (2:l-9).

Malachi's language was plain to the people of his time but also through time still speaks to us today.

He addresses areas of our faith and practice as Christians just as he called out to the people of his day.

He still speaks warnings about our offering through our lives to the Lord as we live day by day, marriage and divorce, financial offerings, leadership, and living in the 'light' of the coming of the Lord.

Malachi spoke of the need for repentance and renewal of our faith, to return to our lst love, our passionate love for our Savior and Lord. He cried out the words of the Lord from God..”Return to Me”. Then, God made a promise if they would that He would return to them. The people were called to obey God, warned about judgment if they refused to repent, and were reassured if they would that God was ever ready to receive them and bless them (3:6-l2).

Much of what Malachi warned about was how the people had become worldly succumbing to the temptations that the world had to offer...to live like they had no true obligation to God and His Word.

It was true just as in our time, how many of God's people are truly living a life setting a good example of God's true heart and character?

One scripture stands out above all else through time and eternity...Malachi 3:6,7 says, 'For I Am the Lord, I do not change.” Here God affirms Himself. He has loved us (you) from the beginning and continues His love for you because His love never changes. And, He will keep His promises to you and will keep calling. Just look at scriptures like Deut. 31:8 or Heb. 13:5. Malachi is much like the Book of James(Yakov in Hebrew) with its message that faith without (spiritual) works is dead (James 2:l4-26).

The problems that Malachi faced was cynicism from the people. Every time the Lord spoke His love

or loving correction to the people, they responded with a shrug or a sneer. They would say things like,

“In what way have we sinned?”, “For what reason should change as you say?”, “This person just

wearies us.” Their attitudes were just a result of a thousand small compromises growing into out and

out disobedience to their God.

In our lives, can't we realize that our small acts of disobedience and doing things against God's Word

and heart grieves the Holy Spirit within and we lose fellowship, of hearing the voice of God rising up

within us...for the Word says, 'Out of our belly will flow rivers of living water'. Many today have to

admit that we have never heard the voice of God speaking through our hearts. Did you know that

there are at least four ways God speaks to us today? l) the Holy Spirit, 2) through circumstances, 3)through His Word, 4) through other believers among others.

We may go through the motions of having faith by showing up at church for worship and saying the right words while at church. But, how do we live after church? How o we show others Christ through the week? How have we acted behind closed doors where only a few can see who we really are?

Think about this...If the Lord told you that He loved you with a love so deep that if you went to the

deepest part of the ocean with Him, He would tell you, “My love flows even deeper then this!”, would

you believe Him? Or would you say, “Oh really?”

We have to praise God that in the Book of Malachi, we find that the Lord leaves the door wide open

and only awaits our hearts to grow and change into His very character.

“Return to Me!”. He calls, “Come Up Hither!” “Climb up to Me!”...and I will return to you!

As we return, He will fill us from glory to glory, lift us up as we walk by His Holy Spirit. He will take us into His care and train us and ultimately we will enter that field with no fences wholly and totally

dedicated to Him and His ways. Our cup will truly runneth over. And, we will dwell in His love


For those who will...He says, “Come!” “Return to Me!” “Return to your lst love!” Hallelujah!

Scriptures taken from NKJV.