God Owns Your
GOD OWNS ME.
I AM HIS SLAVE.
I WANT TO DO HIS WILL. Is that how you feel today? That is the next session shared with these bright, eager, NextGeneration Asians we are coaching here in SE Asia. Malachi Says to Worship the God of Our First Love
“I have loved you,” says the Lord. “Yet you say, ‘In what way have You loved us?’ Was not Esau Jacob’s brother?” Says the Lord. “Yet Jacob I have loved …” (Malachi 1:2, emphasis added).
Malachi (430 B.C.) was contemporary with Ezra. In Malachi, we find the last words from God in the Old Testament—words of His love! Last words are very important. Christ’s last words contained His legacy for us, His body, the church. Our God is a God of love; He has shown that love ever since He came on a search and rescue mission to the Garden of Eden. As soon as Adam and Eve had fallen, God came to their rescue. And He loves with the same depth today.
Malachi is all about loving God, and what He expects from His special people. In just a glance at the book, we can see many problems among those special people, so the Lord points out and questions them about key areas lacking in their lives.
If you read Malachi section by section, you will find powerful spiritual lessons that teach about responding to the love of God (1:1–5), honoring the love of God (1:6–2:9), exposing God’s unloving people (2:10-16), trusting the love of God 2:17–3:6), and acknowledging God’s loving ownership (3:7–12).
In Malachi 3:7–8, God calls it theft when we disregard His ownership of our lives: “… You have gone away from My ordinances and have not kept them. Return to Me, and I will return to you,” says the Lord of hosts. “But you said, ‘In what way shall we return?’ Will a man rob God? Yet you have robbed Me! But you say, ‘In what way have we robbed You?’ In tithes and offerings.” The whole tithe is an expression of God’s ownership or giving of ourselves back to God. Anything less is denying His complete title deed to us. God wants us to see Christ the crucified as the glorious King of Kings, and to rest beneath His wings as we worship our God of first love who owns us.
Because He bought us at such a high price (1 Corinthians 6:19–20), we should give ourselves completely to Him. In Malachi 3:10-12, the Lord is saying that if you give all, and hold nothing back (unlike Ananias and Sapphira of Acts 5), He will “open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you such blessing that there will not be room enough to receive it.”
The Old Testament prophets all spoke of seeing Christ as the One who rules our lives. He is the One whom we can trust to carry out everything. He is our God of hope, the One who will bring everything to pass just as He promised.
We have now come to the end of our study of the last twelve books of the Old Testament—a time when God’s people fluctuated between listening, and refusing to listen, to the prophets of God. I pray that you have truly seen Jesus Christ in these books of prophecy and have worshiped Him all through these weeks!
The Inter-Testamental Period: After Malachi came the Inter-Testamental Period, which was the 400 years between Malachi and Matthew. Many call these years the “silent period” because of the absence of any newly inspired scriptures; however, those years are far from silent because God’s Word mapped out the events of the entire period in advance.
From studying this period, we learn that the Jews were triumphant as they kept the Word, but were defeated when they lost sight of it. During this time, the four main Jewish religious groups of Christ’s day developed: the Essenes, Pharisees, Sadducees, and Zealots. Additionally, the Apocrypha and the conclusion of Nehemiah, Ezra, and Malachi’s ministry is clearly recorded. Finally, we see the fulfillment of the most explicit and detailed of all the Old Testament prophecies involving Christ’s coming after His herald, John the Baptist, prepares the way. And out of those dark days came some bright saints: Joseph and Mary, Zacharias and Elizabeth, Simeon and Anna.
God always has His servants in every generation who speak for Him, and speaking for God always brings great blessings! Are you one of His servants in this generation who speaks for Him?