As God is pouring out his love for them, as a parent to a rebellious child, the people jab back with a forceful punch, “Really? How have you loved us?” Can you imagine this response? God had in their lifetime delivered them from exile; allowed them to be able to rebuild the temple, provided priest, and sacrifices. Not to mention the fact they had all studied how he had delivered and protected their ancestors from many enemies. Yet they look up to the heavens and renounce that God had loved them. They are so self-focused or as Martin Luther described his generation “curved in on themselves” that they no longer could see God. They were basing God’s love on how they were feeling, things they were or were not getting, health, wealth, but neglecting the biggest issue, which was their relationship with God. They failed to ask the question, “How are we with God?”
Go back to the picture of the parent and imagine the rebellious child saying, “You have never loved me! What have you ever done for me?” If you are a parent, you know what sacrifices are made, what ends of the earth you would go to for your child. This statement would both grieve your heart, and ignite you all at the same time. You would be speechless to their hurtful and very untruthful remarks.
I think this one statement leads us to take inventory. What would our response be to God at this moment in our life? Do we truly believe God loves us no matter the circumstances? Sometimes Satan tries to create havoc in our mind and cause us to doubt the love of God. If he can get us to doubt even for a moment God does not love us; he has a foothold into our life. I believe God has compassion for us when in difficult times we ask questions out of sheer pain and grief, but he does not want us to linger there. For me the theme in Malachi is a picture of unconditional love. Psalm 86:5 expresses it by saying, “O Lord, you are so good, so ready to forgive, so full of unfailing love for all who ask for your help.6 Listen closely to my prayer, O Lord; hear my urgent cry….”
The message for today-- God has always loved you no matter what you have done, and he will continue to love you forever!