Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.Martin Luther King Jr.
I have a memory of my childhood where my mother punished me for not eating my vegetables at dinner. The punishment was for me to sit outside on a dark balcony. I can remember distinctly that I was afraid of the chastising, but as I stayed on that balcony I took refuge from the light emitted by the full moon.
Although not as bright as I wanted it to be, the moon shed light. It helped me endure the minutes I have to stay outside. If you ask if I learned my lesson and ate my vegetables. Let’s say it took a lot of years before I gained the taste of liking vegetables.
Darkness in Everyone
Victor Hugo once said, “If the soul is left in the darkness, sins will be committed. The guilty one is not he who commits the sin, but he who causes the darkness,”. I agree with him on the first sentence, but not on the second. Everyone is accountable on all his/her actions.
The second sentence is more on blaming. We should know that blaming others is not helpful. For instance, the fall of Man on Genesis 3. Adam blamed Eve, and Eve blamed the Serpent. But in God’s eyes, each one has committed a sin in accordance to what they have done.
Do you often blame others for your sin? What is the usual outcome of this?
History to Understand God’s Word
Malachi, which means messenger, was the last prophet in the Old Testament (430s BC). He rebuked the people and priests of Judah who forgot about worshipping God and living their lives not in accordance to His will.
Priests were corrupt, men were divorcing their wives and running after pagan women, people have forgotten the Laws that were given to their ancestors at the foot of mount Sinai. After Malachi’s time as a prophet, there was 400 years of silence from God.
Today’s devotional reading is a continuation from the Book of Malachi. Please, read our recent devotional from the Books of Jonah and Revelation 10: God’s Way is the Right Way.
Chapter 1: Darkness Cause Incorrect Prioritization
The chapter opens with God reminding Israel of the love He had for them as His chosen people. But Israel did not give back the same commitment. God taught them, through Moses, on how to worship Him and in return He will be always with them. Priests were established to lead the people to worship and sacrifice on their behalf. But the priests forsake the essence of sacrificing to God.
They have forgotten Who they are worshipping and giving honour. The concern they have on their public status made them think more on how to please their governors that God. Matthew 6 says, No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon (v. 24). And that was what happened to the priests in Malachi’s time.
Chapter 2: Darkness In One Can Make Others Stumble
In the next chapter, God through Malachi reminded the priests on their purpose. That their lips should keep knowledge, and they should seek the law at his mouth: for he is the messenger of the Lord of hosts (v. 7).
God prompted them that their ancestor Levi walked in peace and uprightness with Him. For he has done everything that God commanded him to do with awe and fear of Him. The priests became complaisant on their public status that they forgot who appointed them in their position.
Malachi did not spare the men of Israel with his message from God. For they also have gone against God’s will. The men of Israel divorced their wives and married pagan wives who worship other gods. These men then worship these gods and deserted the God of their fathers.
Chapter 3: Hope In Times of Darkness
Verse 1 of Chapter 3 talks about the messenger that will arrive prior to God. This verse was the prophecy for John the Baptist’s arrival. Isaiah gave another prophecy, when he wrote, A voice cries: In the wilderness prepare the way of the LORD; make straight in the desert a highway for our God (40:3 ESV). John the Baptist confirmed this when he said, He said, I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness, Make straight the way of the Lord, as said the prophet Esaias (John 1:23 KJV).
John the Baptist was the lesser light of hope for the people of Israel who are waiting for the Messiah’s coming. He prepared their hearts and called them to repentance. And in his story the Pharisees were continuously doing corrupt ways as in the time of Malachi.
400 years has passed, and the Israelites were not bothered that God was not answering them. The world has calloused their conscience and made them go after mammon instead of God, who brought them out of slavery (Exodus 20:2). Yet, God is unchanging, He is Love and Just. And in order to serve justice, He will judge according to His will.
(Please visit the Weekly Insight on Who is your intercessor? To know more about our unchanging God.)
Chapter 4: The Great Light
Malachi 3:2 and Revelation 6:17 describes well that we cannot endure the day of Jesus’ coming. We are not worthy to stand in His presence. You know why Jesus came down to earth and took a human form? He came to fulfil the prophecies of the prophets as directed by God. He came to fulfil the Law, and He came to sacrifice Himself and cleanse and free us from the bondage of our sins.
Post Christian generations have forgotten the essence of Christmas and Easter. They have replaced it with pagan celebrations. Now tell me if we differ from the priests and people of Israel in 430 BC?
Good News: We still have time to sort our priorities and get right with God. Grab this opportunity and don’t wait for it to be too late to repent and turn away from your sins. We have a forgiving God who loves us and gives us His ONLY begotten Son as the sacrifice for our sinfulness.
This is the time for your journaling. Reflect on these questions. Ask the Holy Spirit to test your faith and your walk with Christ.
Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates? — 2 Corinthians 13:5 KJV
- Do you acknowledge that there is darkness in you and that you are a sinner?
- Where does God stand in your priorities?
- Are you complaisant and go with the flow of the world?
- Do you put your hope on worldly stuff?
- Where does your hope rests?
- What is the true essence of Christmas for you?
- When are you going to accept Jesus’ offer of salvation?
Heavenly Father, we adore Your glorious name. We ask for your mercy for the times we have strayed away from You. For we have gone on our own way following what is evil on Your sight. We surrender all our sins at the foot of Jesus’ cross. May the precious blood of Christ wash away our sins.
Thank You, Lord Jesus, for Your sacrifice on our behalf. We know that we do not deserve it, yet because of Your great love, You have redeemed us. We pray that the Holy Spirit will be with us to direct and guide us in the path that leads to You.
All these we pray in the precious name of Jesus. Amen.