Will God Accept Just Anything? — A Study of the Book of Malachi
A discussion of complacency…how people fear the PC culture more than they do God. I explain what it means to Fear God and what it means to love him at the same time.
A popular saying these days among young people these days is, “I’m a king! I’m a queen!”
“Beyonce is the Queen”
“I’m looking for my King!”
“If you want to be a king you gotta treat her like a queen!”
I’m seeing it more and more, particularly amongst the Black Community when it comes to men and women searching for their potential spouse. I’ll make this little essay short and sweet and get straight to the point.
We need to stop with all this self-love nonsense. We need to stop with the complacency when it comes to just “accepting” any and everything. And we need to start fearing the one true God as the King of Kings. None of us are kings. None of us are queens. If you submit yourself to Jesus Christ’s teachings, you should do as you’re commanded and pick up the cross to follow him, seeking first the Kingdom of Heaven, storing up your treasures in heaven, not on earth. Even Jesus came to serve, not be served.
The Book of Malachi is one of the most potent Bible Books in the Bible and I can’t believe how much I glossed over it the first time I read it two years ago. Just to give you a bit of background info, Malachi was a prophet after the Jewish captivity in Babylon. The Jewish people were given permission to rebuild the temple that had been destroyed, but even after the near hundred years of the temple’s completion, the people had become complacent when it came to serving and fearing the one true God.
And this seems to be an epidemic when it comes to humankind. One of our biggest flaws, is our forgetfulness and complacency. In times of peace, we become soft and laxed when it comes to our commitments and holding true to such virtues like obedience, honor and duty. And yet, when catastrophe strikes, then all the sudden it’s, “WHERE IS GOD! HOW COULD GOD ALLOW THIS!?”
We’ve done this to ourselves and it’s making me sick to my stomach that people never take responsibility. I hate that so much. Even when it comes to my peers or even potential mates. When I hear about what has happened in their lives, I only respect them when they take ownership. The moment I hear, it’s somebody else’s fault, my respect dwindles.
Because here’s the blunt truth, regardless what your pastor told you, regardless what the world’s telling you. The Bible is chalk full of scriptures that fall along the lines of, “Draw close to Jehovah and he will draw close to you.”
The problem we have as humans is that we want to claim the blessings of God without accepting the conditions of it. I’ve heard teachings that, because Jesus died for our sins, we’re all forgiven regardless of what we do so long as we “accept that Jesus is our Lord and Savior.” And most recently, from the friggin Bachelorette, we have Hannah Brown talking about, “I’ve had sex and Jesus loves me.”
Don’t get me wrong…everyone’s entitled to their opinions and Romans 14 teaches us that we all will be judged as individuals for our convictions. My problem lies in the fact that they have a position of influence. To take Jesus’s name in vain like that…
How does she know that Jesus love her?
One could answer, “well, she must have studied the Bible.”
My response would be, “well, did she gloss over the ‘sin no more’ part?”
Complacency. Everyone wants to be king and queen but they rule over nothing, including their own lives. So many live in fear of, not the one true God, but the world, the PC culture. The same fear one should have of God is the exact same fear that have of offending popular PC culture.
Think about it. The media is teaching our generation that if they do what’s right in the eyes of PC culture, they will be successful, they will be accepted, and loved, and happy, and prosper. But if you offend this PC culture and do what’s wrong in their eyes, it’ll cost you your reputation, your job, your friends, your livelihood, your sanity, and in many cases your life through suicide from intense depression.
But God is the King of Kings. He is above any and all authority on Earth. The fear we have of earthly authority figures should pale in comparison to the fear we have of God. What does that mean? What does it mean to fear God?
Perfectly valid question. Because, can you be afraid of someone and love them too? The holy scriptures tell us to love our Heavenly father with our whole heart, but it also says to fear him. Doesn’t make sense, does it? Ever since I was a kid, I wrestled with this notion because deep inside…I hated what I was afraid of, like grizzly bears or the deep open sea with hovering dark bulbous clouds. And if God is our Heavenly father, why should I fear him?
In reading the Bible in its entirety, I gradually received the answers I prayed continuously for. First off, one must grasp the understanding of what God is. Because you hear it a lot, in anime, in mythology, in movies and so forth. “I am a God!” Which is nonsense.
For me, I’ve simplified the magnitude of his essence as best as I could here: God is an entity that can make anything happen, however impossible it may seem in our human eyes, all through sheer will. He is all powerful and all knowing that for him, he is very much able to see what’s going on at this very moment with you, as you read this, while affecting change in the past on a time line that’s ever changing while sticking to the consistency of the scriptures he provided for the here and now. He does this all through sheer will, made evident with the single command, “let there be light.”
He owes us absolutely nothing, but does so much through grace, generosity, and a steadfast love he has for us, his creations, the beings he made in his own image. We don’t deserve his love or generosity. But he established covenants. The Abrahamic, the Davidic, the New Covenant. All of these covenants were put in place to give us hope. While humans renege and betray each other all the time, God will not betray his covenants. But these covenants…they come with conditions.
In Malachi Chapter 1, the prophet more or less speaks as an advocate for God where he questions the people in their complacency, their cynicism, their stoicism, and doubt. Back then, believers were required to provide animal or grain offerings to God to atone for sin and ask his blessing. But in Leviticus 22:20, Moses made it clear that defected or lame animals weren’t acceptable to God. They were to present their best to him. Why? Because it shows reverence, it shows respect, it shows that they valued God’s presence in their lives.
Instead, the people in Malachi’s day were presenting broken, lame, and defected animals. And Malachi called them out on it. This complacency, that they think they could just present anything and God will accept it…
In Malachi 1:8, he presents a bold notion that opened my eyes in so many ways. He says, “Try presenting them, please, to your governor. Will he be pleased with you or receive you with favor?” says Jehovah of armies.”
God is above your parents, above your teachers, above your loved ones, above the twitter mob, above the police, above the law of the land, above the president, above the army, above the terrorists, above the dictators, above the kings, above the emperors, ABOVE YOUR BOSS.
If you wouldn’t treat your boss with a lazy, whatever attitude, why would you do it with God? If your king commanded you to live a certain way, wouldn’t you do it? If you stood before the king, a man who could kill you, break you down, or build you up…wouldn’t you come dressed in your best, with the utmost respect, the fear of failing to impress him? How much so should you behave with God?
Think about it, here in our day. What do we do to show our respect, our reverence for our Heavenly Father? Some of us go to Church on Sundays. Some of us put tattoos of the scripture and crosses on our body. Some of us even have scriptures in our social media profile. That should be good, right? That should show that we are followers of Christ.
Yet these same people celebrate PC culture by participating in weddings and parades, wearing rainbow garbs to show solidarity of worldly ideals that conflict with the scriptures. These same people commit adultery and fornicate by indulging in a hook-up culture that’s detrimental to marriage and a stable lifestyle for children. These same people profane the name of God by robbing, killing, and extorting all because “they gotta do what they gotta do” to survive. These same people reject the traditional gender roles laid out through Paul’s letters to Timothy and the congregations. These same people keep silent as wickedness prevail. They smile and say everything’s all good when they know it isn’t. They lie and tell people that we are all equal and God loves us equally. And when you ask, how do they know that…they hit you with blank stares and counter with, “Well, how do you know what God thinks?”
BECAUSE I READ GOD’S WORD EVERYDAY! It took me two years from the age of 28–30 to read it, and immediately after I completed my first run-through, I picked up the MacArthur study Bible to start from the beginning all over again. On August the 18th, I’ll be 33 and I’ve just finished Malachi, now about to being the New Testament.
And here’s the thing…Because people will say, “well, you’re talking about Malachi. Christians follow the New Testament.”
Which is such an intellectually dishonest statement. Even Jesus quoted the Old Testament, particularly the Ten Commandments. The New Testament teaches us the Gospels, the good news about what’s to come if we submit ourselves to Christ’s teachings. The Old Testament is just as important because it teaches us about the character of God. In particular, there’s only one individual on earth who was said to have a heart after God himself, and that was David.
Again…not my place to judge whether or not God will accept individuals. I just read last night in Matthew chapter 1, when Matthew lists Jesus’s genealogy from Abraham onward, he mentions five women who were prostitutes, adulterers, and stigmatized by having children out of wedlock, but even they had a purpose in the eyes of God. I’m talking about Tamar, Rahab, Ruth, Bathsheba, and Mary.
As human beings, however, I believe we’re all encouraged to discern what’s right and wrong, based on the teachings of the Bible, regardless how hard the world guilts you into trying to “accept” any and all behavior. I’ll never condemn a person or say God doesn’t love them based on what they did. But I will point out the scriptures to show them the flaws and then leave it up to them to take responsibility for their own thoughts and beliefs.
And before anyone hits me with “hate speech” accusations, there’s a difference between pointing out the sins and actively taking up stones to hurl at the sinner. If someone breaks into your house and the police asks, who committed this crime, it’s not hate speech to point the guy out. Regardless of the sin committed, I will always love the sinner and value their lives, out of love and respect for Him who created our lives.
In Ephesians 6 it says for our faith to be our sword and our shield. The scriptures are the source of our faith. So when people say, “oh, you’re just hiding behind the Bible.”
You should say, “Yes. That is correct. As I am instructed to do.”
And honestly, so long as you treat the Word of God as your ultimate source of survival in this wicked world, you should have no fear. I have not so high a value on my life in this world, because I’m always seeking first the Kingdom of Heaven and everlasting life in the next. Everyone of us has a choice to make. You can obey, or disobey. And therein lies the Fear of God.
For me…while I am afraid of God destroying my life, I know God provides the good days and the bad days. And sometimes, things happen in which God has a plan that he will never make known to me, as was the case with Job. But what I fear the most…my ultimate fear of God…is his abandoning me.
So long as I’m striving to do what’s good in God’s eyes, though I may fall and stumble, I know he sees my heart. And I confess, I have a very dark and wicked heart. My thoughts have seen so many unspeakable acts of violence and treachery that I’ve cried on even the happiest occasions. But I pray. I seek his forgiveness and ask that he continually mold my heart, refine my spirit to do what’s good in his eyes. Even before I started writing this, I prayed for his guidance, his holy spirit to direct my hand.
I am a single male Christian who’s striving to wait till marriage to have sex. I’m 33 and getting older by the day but I despair not. Because I’m not alone so long as he is with me. Without him, I would have never been able to lose 178lbs or maintained two stable jobs for nearly a decade. I’ve never been to jail and I don’t have any children out of wedlock. I live a simple life of work and betterment with no desire for materialistic things or to pursue experiences the world flashes before my eyes…as if I don’t go to Disneyland my life will never be complete.
I am blessed because God is with me. I fear his abandonment because I know humans are wicked. If left alone to them, I have no doubt I would have given into temptation or let the rage in my heart unleash, causing a world of problems.
Even David, the man after God’s own heart, was given an option when he sinned against God by conducting a census. The servant Samuel told him that God gave him three options, he could have seven years of a famine strike the land, there could be three days of pestilence in the land, or he could flee for three months while his adversaries pursue him.
David knew. He said in 2nd Samuel 24:14, “ Let us fall please into the hand of Jehovah, for his mercy is great. Do not let me fall into the hand of man.”
God’s mercy is great. God’s mercy. Need I remind you why he sent Jesus Christ to die for our sins in the first place? God created all of us. He loves all of us, but do not be fooled. I’ve yet to come across a scripture that says he loves us all equally. Instead, I’ve read many times, that if you draw close to God, he will draw close to you. If you abandon him, he will abandon you. If you tell yourself, “you don’t need God…” I think you get the picture.
And we do need God, make no mistake about it. Have not these current events shown us anything? Not just with the mass shootings, but the rise of depression, especially amongst young people. We are lost and, personally, we can thank the previous generation for that. We need love. We need purpose. We need each other. Human beings are social creatures. That’s why God created Eve for Adam. Notice, he created one woman for one man. Just because polygamy happens in the Bible, doesn’t mean God condones it, as was the tragic case of Solomon.
The wave of sexual harassment allegations and demonization of masculinity, this is evil. I’ve known it for years. And every time one pops up and is blown out of proportion with waves of outrage washing over the innocent good men who endeavor to treat women as God commanded us, with honor, I knew it was wicked. Wives are to be submissive to their husbands. Husbands are the heads of the households. Men are to lead. This is the right way because men and women are different. Each of us has our own strengths and they compliment each other…and yet, the world wants us to compete.
If I work out every day and you don’t, I’m going to be stronger than you. If you read and strengthen your mind everyday, you may be more knowledgeable than me. Get it? That’s just two examples of how we’re not the same. You can be with someone who’s physically stronger than you, and love someone who’s smarter than you. IT’S OKAY THAT WE’RE NOT ALL EQUAL! It’s not a competition. It really isn’t. Embrace our differences!
Malachi Chapter 2 talks about marriage when it comes to the Jewish people of his day. And believe it or not, Feminist and all these Female Empowerment leaders will actually enjoy what he has to say. Because you hear it a lot, that a lot of these feminists don’t like the Bible because it’s sexist and so male oriented. But…this is why I try to tell people that the Bible is more than just a rule book to dictate peoples’ lives.
It’s a guide, and instruction manual for life. He who created us knows us. When he put these guides, these commandments in place, it wasn’t to be a tyrant over us. He’s trying to help us. He knows we are weak in the flesh. He knows temptations abound. He knows all of this and he’s trying to help us.
Back in Malachi’s day, men and women got married at a much younger age, some earlier than the age of fifteen. I know, despicable in our modern eyes, but it made sense back then especially when it came to providing purpose and companionship in our lives, whereas now, most men and women live out their twenties in misery, longing for loyal, loving companionship; though mocked at by society for valuing things like chastity and virtue.
Through Malachi’s words, God rebukes the men who divorced the women of their youths in favor of foreign brides. These foreign brides practiced idolatry. Moreover, they had abandoned their former wives. God does not condone or encourage this. Today, we have people getting divorced for reasons like, “I’m not happy.” or “Irreconcilable differences.”
They’ll claim mental or verbal abuse, spurred on by bystanders saying, “You shouldn’t have to live this way! You don’t have to be in a toxic relationship!”
Complacency. People aren’t taking this seriously anymore. Marriage is not a merely contract, regardless what society would have you believe. It’s a union, a vow before God that man and wife have now become one. This is for life. This was not some burden or ball in chain. This was security. An assurance that as long as you live, you will always be loved and cared for. A companion for life. Jesus said at Matthew 19:6, “what God has brought together, let no man separate.”
This is God looking out for his daughters by urging men to be faithful to them. They are our companions, wives by covenant. The rejection of this ideal is why misery abounds. People stopped taking things like sex, marriage, and love seriously. Even when it comes to children, more and more, we’re seeing people strive to claim the benefits of parenthood without accepting the conditions of it…marriage.
The marriage is essential so children can be given the basis of Godly living. On this, I play no games. Solomon and his successors after him have shown us what happens when you marry a non-believer. I believe this is the greatest crime of all. To bring children into this world, giving them the gift of life, only to drastically damage their chances of everlasting life. The child may grow up and come to accept Jesus as an adult through the grace of God…But I dare say, that seems unlikely, if not rare.
That’s all I wanted to say. Malachi was perhaps one of the most potent books I’ve ever read. It’s only four chapters. I encourage you all to read it at your own discretion. But I felt the need to write this all down. This last shooting that took place in El Paso and Dayon, Ohio…I remember praying as I do every night and just as I was about to pray for the loved ones of the fallen…I refrained.
There was something in me that felt disingenuous and I can’t stand that. God knows my heart. To pray for something for the sake of simply praying for it, is pointless because he knows I wouldn’t mean it. Sad to say, I honestly didn’t feel anything in my heart after that last shooting. Because, honestly…it all makes sense.
Wickedness and bad things will only continue as human history moves forward until the day of Christ’s return. I know this. I accept this. Even if you were to say, “Oh, yeah. Well, what if this happened to you or your loved one.”
I’d miss them. It’d be unfortunate. But I have faith that all is going according to God’s will. Moreover, I’m not mad at God for all this happening. I’m disgusted with my fellow humans. Doesn’t mean I don’t love them as Christ commanded, but I know we’re to blame. And in my opinion, the worst of us are those who know the truth and ignore it in favor of pleasing the eyes of man.
Just because you bury your head in the sand and refuse to read for yourself what’s what, it won’t absolve you from judgment. Even Jesus said in Luke 9:24–26, “ For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake is the one who will save it. Really what good will it do a man if he gains the whole world but loses his own self or suffers ruin? For whoever becomes ashamed of me and of my words, the Son of man will be ashamed of that person when he comes in his glory and that of the Father and the holy angels.”
So eagerly, I await his return and simply do my best to teach others the truth about Him.
Originally published at http://stageinthesky.com on August 20, 2019.