Malachi 3:14–15 (HCSB)
14 You have said: “It is useless to serve God. What have we gained by keeping His requirements and walking mournfully before the Lord of Hosts? 15 So now we consider the arrogant to be fortunate. Not only do those who commit wickedness prosper, they even test God and escape.”
This is an interesting pericope. It starts out just like the last couple, with God making a statement of Israel’s failure, and Israel replying by questioning the validity of God’s statement. And yet again, God provides for the example, He states what Israel has, in this case, spoken against Him.
And let’s pause and look at that. In Malachi 3:14-15 we see that man has determined that following God is useless, that the “arrogant” are doing just fine, and the “wicked prosper”. So rather than follow God’s law, rather than seek to honor and glorify Him, Israel has sought the way of fallen man, the way of sin, and all the temporary, worldly rewards that go with it. This sounds like something that could be written today! A culture that is self-absorbed, measuring fortune by worldly gain rather than right-standing with God and righteousness. A culture that places jobs, finances, the economy, above everything else in importance… and this despite being the wealthiest nation in the world. And on a day where we ushered in a new POTUS, in his speech at the inauguration, I heard a focus on money: we will bring back our money, we will bring back our jobs, we will be wealthy again. Shouldn’t our focus, at least the focus of those of us who claim to be Christians, not be wealth and prosperity, but be righteousness and right-standing with God?
What is really interesting here though, is that God does not provide an example of the opposite, or some punishment that looms ahead for those that participate in the sin. There is no threat of judgement and punishment. Instead, we read that those that are still faithful, that still seek to honor God, wrote a book to remember. That should be our attitude, a desire to not forget what is truly important. And God honors that heart, and we see the promise that there is a difference between those who are righteous and those who are wicked, and it will be seen. It may not be noticeable in how the world judges things, but in God’s economy it will be.
Lord, thank You for honoring righteousness, and thank You for clothing us in Your perfect righteousness, imparting it to us through faith. I am sorry for putting the things of the world before You, and for embracing wickedness at times to gain in empty riches. I pray for a renewed heart, one that seeks You and Your eternal gifts first, and operates under Your economy. Amen.