December 31 | Daily Devotion

December 31 | Daily Devotion

Lectio Continua: a continuous reading of every verse

Lectio Semi-continua: shorter reading selections from the passages

Lectio Divina

“‘I the Lord do not change. So you, the descendants of Jacob, are not destroyed….Return to me, and I will return to you,’ says the Lord Almighty.” ~Malachi 3:6-7

Malachi was written during a period of spiritual discouragement in the life of the community (somewhere around 430 BCE). The temple has been rebuilt, but the people are already straying from the Lord. (Yes, again!) The priests see their work as a chore and a bore, and the people bring their leftovers to the temple instead of their best. Their pastors say nothing, but God is mad! I hate it when you give Me your leftovers. I want a portion of your best. 

The larger problem is a heart issue, but when the prophet tries to explain, the people are confused. So Malachi uses a specific example, the checkbook. People spend their money, then gave God a few bucks left over from a busted budget. What they can’t seem to understand is that they’re coming up short at the end of the month because they refuse to honor Him. He’s not going to keep blessing people when they snub Him.

God feels like His people have divorced Him! He enumerates the many ways they have broken the covenant while calling on them to return to Him. He promises rich blessing to those who renew their vows and honor Him again. In fact, God invites His people to put Him to the test. Will He not open the windows of heaven and pour out such a large blessing that they won’t have room for it?! Wow! Now that’s a big blessing!

Is there anything wrong with wanting God to bless you or with putting Him to the test? Of course not! In fact, the prophet dares the people to worship faithfully and give generously. He dares them to do it and see what happens!As you think about the coming year, do you long for God to bless you? Are there some changes you need to make right now? Return to Him, and He will return to you and bless you.

Lectio Divina is written by F. Lionel Young III, who serves as the senior pastor of Calvary Church in Valparaiso, Indiana. He is the author of A New Kind of Missionary, a popular introduction to global Christianity.