"I have always loved you,” says the LORD. But you retort, “Really? How have you loved us?” And the LORD replies, “This is how I showed my love for you: I loved your ancestor Jacob... (Malachi 1:2 NLT)
The book of Malachi asks the question, “Does it pay to serve God or not?” When the Judean people came back from exile in Babylon, they were excited. Against all the odds, Yahweh had fulfilled the promises of the prophets to bring them home again. So they dived into the prophetic books to see what other promises the prophets had made. What they found was wonderful: riches, glory, power, world-wide dominion! Wonderful!
But now a century had passed, and none of those things had happened. Why should they bother to serve God if he doesn’t pay off? How long did they need to keep stuffing their silver dollars into the divine slot machine until they hit the jackpot? Do you see what the problem was? They were not serving God because they loved him, but to get something from him.
I am afraid that you and I are a lot like the Judeans. We demand that God show us He loves us by what He does for us. Aren’t we guilty of thinking and saying, “God if you really loved me, you would…”
- Not have let my child die
- Take away my spouse’s cancer
- Restore my health
- Make me wealthy
But what if we said, “I know you love me; you died for me.” So I am going to let you choose the evidence of your love in my life.” Doubt says, “I won’t believe you love me till you prove it my way.” That is just like the hot-blooded boy in the back seat of the car, who does not really love the girl he is propositioning; he just wants to use her. Faith says, “I don’t exactly see how, but I believe you do love me, and I am going to trust you to show me in your own way.” Do you see the difference? It’s an attitude shift. One approach is trying to use God for ourselves; the other is allowing God to be God, and trusting Him with the outcome. Ask God to show you his evidence in His time and in His way. He will!
(Editor's Note: This blog first appeared on Dr. Oswalt's blog site HERE)