A Christmas Card from God?
“For I am a great king,” says the Lord Almighty, “and my name is to be feared among the nations.” Malachi 1:14
Bills, advertisements, and credit card offers—the contents of my mailbox on most days. But during December, I receive the welcomed addition of cards and newsy letters from friends and family. Their updates let me know what’s important to them—their activities, goals, challenges, and blessings.
Unfortunately, God doesn’t send updates through the postal service. For centuries, however, he delivered messages through prophets like Malachi. His book contains a series of messages that help us understand what is important to God.
First God said, “I have loved you” (1:2). His people, however, hadn’t loved him in return. They hadn’t honored his name—shown him respect and worshiped him properly. Instead they’d given him unacceptable offerings and blasphemous insults (1:11-14).
God then reminded the priests of the covenant of life and peace he had made with them (Numbers 25:10-13). They had disregarded the covenant (Malachi 2:1-9). The people were also unfaithful, ignoring God’s laws about sacrifices, marriage, and tithing (2:11-17; 3:8-15).
Nevertheless, in spite of their faithlessness, he wouldn’t withdraw his love or dissolve his covenants: “I the Lord do not change. So you, O descendants of Jacob, are not destroyed” (3:6). God said, “Return to me, and I will return to you” (3:7).
Apparently, some people who heard Malachi’s messages repented of their sin (3:16). God graciously encouraged them: “But for you who revere my name the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its rays. And you will go out and frolic like well-fed calves” (4:2).
Like Malachi’s listeners, we struggle to love God as we should. We too dishonor his name and ignore our relationship with him. We respond to his grace with second-rate gifts and hollow worship. He sends us a similar message: I love you so much that I sent Jesus to earth. If you repent of your sins and accept him as your savior, you will be healed. He will fill you with so much joy that you’ll skip around like satisfied calves in a sun-drenched field of grain.
We won’t receive a Christmas card from God in our mailbox this year. His Christmas message to us is contained in his Word—both the written word and the Living Word, Jesus Christ. What will be our response to his message?
In Malachi chapter one, God asks a series of questions in verses 6, 8, 9, and 13. How would you respond if he asked you those questions?
Malachi, whose name means “my messenger,” speaks of another messenger God was going to send to his people (3:1). Who was it? Read Matthew 11:7-15.
In Matthew 28:18-20 Jesus commissions the disciples (and us) as his messengers. What are the characteristics of a good messenger? Read Malachi 2:5-7.
The last two words of the Old Testament are “total destruction” (Malachi 4:6). Adam and Eve’s disobedience brought sin’s destruction into the world (Genesis 3:14-19). Jesus removed it (Galatians 3:13-14). When will the effects of sin be eradicated? Read Romans 8:18-25 and Revelation 22:3.
Denise K. Loock
This devotion is included in Dig Deeper’s Restore the Joy: A Daily Devotional for December at amazon.com. (Price: $2.99). Follow us on Facebook each day as we fuel our joy throughout the Christmas season. We’ll also be featuring devotions from Restore the Joy on the website each week. (You can download Amazon’s free app if you don’t have Kindle or Nook.)