Malachi 3:13-20 Reflection:
There can be few readings in the bible which reflect modern attitudes as well as this reading does: “You say, it is useless to serve God; what is the good of keeping his commands.”
This is the sort of statement which is prevalent in a world that considers God to be an add-on to daily life at best. He is unimportant, irrelevant and there is no real need to take heed of what he says; his laws are old fashioned, he is not cool and given that, we have become the all-important person in the universe, what use have we for a God.
But the reading is even more uncannily accurate: “Now we have reached the point when we call the arrogant blessed; yes, they prosper, these evil-doers; they try God’s patience and yet go free.”
For the Christian looking at the world today there appears to be no limit to what God is prepared to allow the arrogant to get away with. We recoil at the things we see, we say ‘where is God and why does he allow this?’
While we are still thinking like this we are still thinking as the world thinks. God is totally ‘other’ from us; his ways are far above our ways and he sees all that goes on in the world in one look from his eyes. God sees now and the future all at once and he sees the outcome of the behaviour of these people, right to the very end.
We, on the other hand, have to live through all this, enduring the constant passage of time when God and his laws appear to be mocked. So what is God calling us to do?
In the midst of all this turmoil we are to pray for the sinner, beginning with ourselves, and then for the world. Then we have to leave all these people who appear to mock God in the hands of God and let him deal with the situation in the way that he sees fit. We develop the peace, love and understanding in our own hearts first and let God look after the rest.
Perhaps ordinary people know this when they say: “Mind your own business.” And what is our business—to come to know Jesus and to come to believe in the One that God has sent.
When we do this, all these other issues fade away like snow of a ditch!