"I have loved you," says the LORD. "But you ask, "How have you loved us?" "Was not Esau Jacob's brother?" the LORD says, "Yet I have loved Jacob, but Esau I have hated, and I have turned his mountains into a wasteland and left his inheritance to the desert jackals."
Over a thousand years have passed since the LORD comforted Rebekah during her pregnancy with twin boys. The LORD set His affection on Jacob in spite of his scheming and deceitful ways. His descendants were no better:
- They rebelled against His prophet Moses.
- They disobeyed the LORD at every turn and spent forty difficult years wandering in the wilderness.
- Even then the LORD fulfilled His promises to Abraham and brought them into the promised land.
- They worshiped the idols of the people they were supposed to conquer and married their daughters.
- The LORD allowed them to be oppressed by their enemies until they humbled themselves and cried out to Him.
- They rejected the LORD as their king and cried out to God for a king like all the nations around them.
- Most of their kings rebelled against the LORD and He raised up prophet after prophet to urge them to return to the LORD. But they would not.
Israel pictures the heart of all mankind. Quoting Psalm 14:1-3 Paul says, "There is none righteous, no, not one; there is none who understands; there is none who seeks after God" (Romans 3:10b-11). He later describes this stubborn love, "But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us" (Romans 5:8). Love so amazing, so stubborn!
People today question God's love. God's love has never been the issue; rather man's stubborn rebellion prevents him from seeing and experiencing God's love.
Questions for today's Chronological Bible reading:
- What will happen when God restores the fortunes of Judah and Jerusalem?
- How will all of creation respond to the outpouring of God's judgment upon the nations?
- How does the first charge differ from all of the following charges?
- What is the first charge God brings against His people and what evidence does He use to prove His charge?
- How do today's priests/preachers compare with those in Malachi's day?
- What is the nature of the second charge God makes against His people?
- What does God expect from the marriage relationship?
- How do marriages of people in our churches compare to the marriages in Malachi's day?
- How does God describe the justice of God in His answer to the third charge?
- How do people today compare with those in Malachi's day in this area?
- What evidence does the Lord give to prove His fourth charge against the people?
- What evidence or proof does He use to back up His fifth charge against Israel? What does this tell you about God?
- What promise does God make regarding righteous and wicked people?
Thank the LORD for His stubborn love! Pray also for the peace of Jerusalem. Pray for Israel. The LORD loves them still!