Friday, December 29, 2017

"Yes or No?"

Malachi 3.13 “The Message”

“God says, ‘You have spoken hard, rude words to me.’ You ask, ‘When did we ever do that?’

Malachi is a book about denial. The leaders of Israel questioned God’s analysis of their condition, recorded by the prophet ten times in his short treatise. They argued with their Creator. They were in denial.

  • “How have You loved us?” (1.2)
  • “How have we despised Your name?” (1.6)
  • “How have we defiled You?” (1.7)
  • “For what reason [will You no longer regard our offering]?” (2.14)
  • “How have we wearied Him?” (2.17)
  • “Where is the God of justice?” (2.17)
  • “How shall we return [to You]?” (3.7)
  • “How have we robbed You?” (3.8)
  • “What have we spoken against You?” (3.13)
  • “What profit is there that we have kept His charge?” (3.13)

“When did we ever do that?”

Do you like peanuts? I asked myself that question recently and came to a inconclusive conclusion. Frankly, it depends on the situation. When I am eating a box of Crackerjacks then I am very fond of peanuts. I can’t wait to taste the flavor and feel the texture of a peanut with the caramel corn. The same is true for peanut brittle. I feel gypped by each bite that does not contain a peanut.

However, if I am eating from a can of mixed nuts, I want the ‘good stuff’… Brazil nuts, almonds, hazel nuts, pecans, and especially cashews. I actually feel gypped when I get a peanut. To make matters worse, I am not alone. I cannot get one member of my family to scoop a handful of mixed nuts equitably. They are all ‘pickers.’ They finger through the can, select the best nuts, and leave peanuts for me!

Do I like peanuts or not? Sometimes I do and, apparently, sometimes I don’t. I must admit that my appreciation for peanuts depends on the situation. If you point out my inconsistency and suggest that perhaps I am not a truly devoted peanut lover, I may become slightly defensive and try to qualify my love for peanuts. I might even sound a little irritated as I flatly deny the obvious. You might have to endure my self-righteous, over-explanation on how it is okay  to love peanuts in certain environments and not others. I would recount for you my fond memories of cracking shelled peanuts at the circus with my family. You might hear about that many times since my youth I have enjoyed the peanut-eating experience. I still crack an occasional peanut shell. It’s a great snack I would tell you.

Does this sound wishy-washy? It should because it is. The simple truth is I like peanuts just fine… until something better comes along. The same was true for Malachi’s Jews 400 years before Christ. They liked God just fine…
…on certain occasions
…when it was easy
…if God would prove Himself
…in small or diluted doses
…when His demands matched their offerings
…in the right environment
…when it did not cost them much
…when God was their best option
…until something better came along

Am I a devoted follower of Christ? It’s a fair question and deserves a straight-forward answer. I need not qualify or clarify my answer. The question is uncomplicated and requires no explanation. I cannot appeal to the past or deny the obvious. I should not act defensive and answer the question with a question. 

Prophet Malachi reminds me to just answer the question. Am I a devoted follower of Jesus Christ? “Yes” or “No?”

“Just let your ‘Yes’ mean ‘Yes.’ Let your ‘No’ mean ‘No.’
Anything more than this comes from the evil one.”

Matthew 5.37 New International Reader’s Version

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

How long will you waiver between two opinions? 1 Kings 18:21.