Return to Me…May the Lord be Great

A pronouncement. The Lord’s word to Israel through Malachi. I have loved you, says the Lord; but you say, “How have you loved us?” Wasn’t Esau Jacob’s brother? says the Lord. I loved Jacob, 3  but I rejected Esau. I turned Esau’s mountains into desolation, his inheritance into a wilderness for jackals. Edom may say, “We are beaten down, but we will rebuild the ruins”; but the Lord of heavenly forces proclaims: They may build, but I will tear them down. They will call themselves a wicked territory, the people against whom the Lord rages forever. Your eyes will see it and you will say, “May the Lord be great beyond the borders of Israel” (Malachi 1:1-5, Common English Bible).

God speaks through the prophet Malachi. Malachi is one of the minor prophets. He isn’t lesser because what he said was unimportant. Malachi is a minor sheerly because of the amount, the volume fo his pronouncements.

Malachi most likely lived after the completion of the second temple and during the time of Ezra and Nehemiah, most likely around the middle of the fifth century B.C.

Today’s lesson reminds us of the origins of the Hebrew faith. Malachi speaks of Esau and Jacob and how God loved Jacob and rejected Esau. Malachi also reminds of some of Israel’s enemies and how God had and would continue to put them in their place. Israel would remain in God’s favor.

Then God, through the prophet says Israel will proclaim, “May the Lord be great beyond the borders of Israel.” The assumption here is, first God is already great in Israel. Well, that one is really beyond assumption. Because of the return to the Promised Land following the exile, as earlier prophets had previously prophesied, Israel was back on the God bandwagon again. At this point in history, they would believe God was great for Israel.

Here God is speaking that the Israelites will desire God’s greatness throughout the world. This idea speaks of God as omnipresent, always present. This speaks to the Christian understanding of God being with us in all times and in all places.

Often times we may want to say, “God where were you when….” What follows could be any number of things. All too often we want to know where God was when God was with us all along. We tend to blame God when in reality what we experience comes from our own poor decisions. Perhaps we experience crisis because of the poor decisions of others. We may even experience these difficulties because of natural laws work. If you drop a 500-pound weight from 100 feet in the air, it is going to crash to the ground. It is a natural law. Gravity works. And, just because a natural law works does not negate the presence of God in the world around us. The biggest trouble is, all too often, we fail to see God at the very times we could use the divine most. It doesn’t mean God failed to be present. It means we were unable to see.

The point of this lesson is, God is present and God is great. We shouldn’t need the Israelites to tell us this. We have our own history. We have our own experiences to lean on. We know the traditions of the Church. We know what this lesson and others say about the greatness of God. From that knowledge, it is a reasonable assumption to know that, just as God has always been present, God will be present for us too.

What a blessing. The Lord will be great.

Have a blessed day in the Lord.

With Joy and Thankfulness,
Keith

Copyright 2017, J. Keith Broyles, All Rights Reserved

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