Malachi 3 – Defrauding God

Malachi 3 Bible with Endangered Species 72 percent Dark Chocolate with Cacao Nibs

Today’s ChocolateEndangered Species 72% Dark Chocolate with Cacao Nibs

Today’s PassageMalachi 3

Confession: it’s Friday night and I haven’t posted Thursday’s post yet. Let’s fix that. Then, having fixed that, let’s write Friday’s post and post it up too. At this point it’s looking like Friday’s post will not go up on Friday. But first: Thursday’s post on Friday, which is today.

I try not to miss the forest for one very specific tree in these posts. I try to at least hit an overview of the passage of the day, and today’s passage continues God’s charges against his people, with an accusation that Israel is straight-up robbing God as the centerpiece. But one verse caught my eye: a quick-and-dirty litany of indictments early in the chapter. If God were to put this list to music and then sing it, he might end with the line, “These are a few of my least favorite things.” If it were a Buzzfeed article, they might title it “Six Things God Will Be a Swift Witness Against, Drawing Near to You for Judgment.” But it is not an article, and God–as far as I know–has not performed it as if right out of the Sound of Music. It’s a list.

And it struck me as especially relevant to our world today. As we saw in the first chapter, what God hates tells us about his character. It tells us what holiness means, what God wouldn’t do himself, and what he says has no place among his people. With that in view, we see God drop this censure: “I will be a swift witness against the sorcerers and against the adulterers and against those who swear falsely, and against those who oppress the wage earner in his wages, the widow and the orphan, and those who turn aside the alien and do not fear Me” (5). What’s God concerned about? In the Israel of Malachi’s day, it was this stuff, and to the extent to which our modern world’s sins resemble those of Malachi’s Israel, we can apply this list to ourselves.

And man, can we ever apply it. We may have a shortage of sorcerers (unless you’re playing Dungeons and Dragons, and even then I think most 5th Edition players would tend to go wizard), but in our world, the other sorts of sinners abound. False promises? Wage theft and exploitation of the working class, the disenfranchised, and foreigners? No fear of God or respect for his image in humanity, as those in power abuse the masses? Look around you. We’ve got these faults in spades.

Malachi tells us that when we withhold tithes and offerings–our physical gifts and sacrifices–from God, we defraud him. But I think one could just as well say that we defraud God when we defraud those he’s made in his own image. There’s an awful lot of defrauding going around these days, and God promises that when we defraud him, he will draw near for judgment. How long do the defrauders think they can get away with their treachery?

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2 thoughts on “Malachi 3 – Defrauding God

  1. More of the rhetorical back and forth–v7-15. Seems like a rather prominent device in Malachi so far. Paul and Malachi do seem to use the device to different purposes, but boy, I’m sure hearing some echos. I want to say there are some similar portions in Isaiah maybe? Can’t say much for sure about the other prophets. I dunno. Just seems to have really caught my attention this time.

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