An Invitation to Grace: Malachi 2
His Ways Are Not Our Ways
The beginning of Malachi 2 opens with a warning of God's cursing instead of blessing and towards the beginning of Genesis, it opens the same way. In Genesis 2:16-17 God says, "...You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die." God did not say if we will eat of it, but when. We became cursed when our eyes became opened with the knowledge of evil. Until that point, we were blessed with everything Good. The curse was placed upon us, separation from God and banishment from His perfect paradise. In Malachi 2:2 God says, "Indeed, I have cursed you already..." and so we see the blessing of a relationship with Him as being torn from our grasp. Why would God plan it this way? In the beginning we were created in His image, blessed with the Goodness of God in everything, and yet still "...His thoughts are not our thoughts, neither are our ways His ways. As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are His ways higher than our ways and His thoughts than our thoughts." Isaiah 55:8-9 His knowledge knows know limits, yet we being but dust and flesh are limited in our vision. "We are all like grass, and all our glory is like the flowers of the field; the grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of the Lord stands forever." 1 Peter 1:24-25 He allows our eyes to be opened, so we realize that we are lacking and He alone is Capable. As Isaiah 55:13 says, "This will be for the Lord's renown..." and so He paves the Way for His Glory to be revealed, for all to know Him as Lord of lords and King of kings. He desires for us to acknowledge our need for Him and in Malachi 2:2 He is pointing to the Way for us to come to Him. God's if here points to Christ, the only Way to be reconciled to Him. God says, "If you do not listen and if you do not set your heart to honor my name, I will send a curse upon you..." He knows that in our limited selves we are not capable and so He places the curse upon Himself nailing it to the Cross of Christ. The Good we were blessed with in the beginning can become our Delight when we entrust our lives to Him. Then the Grace we freely accept, indwells us and overflows into the lives of others, "...accomplishing what He desires and achieving the purpose for which He was sent." Isaiah 55:11. Not only are we blessed with God's Goodness, but our "...soul will delight in the richest of fare." Isaiah 55:2
God's Grace In Motion
God invites us to share in His Grace, not only for ourselves, but also to draw others to Him. Here are two examples of God's Grace in motion, the first one revolving around our acceptance of Him as Lord of our lives and the second one showing how His Grace in us can be extended into the lives of others.
I was in the midst of planning my daughter's birthday party, making what should have been a simple and quick phone call. I was talking to the somewhat cheerful employee asking straight forward questions about the details of the party. She had the appearance of knowing and yet she was faltering. You see I had talked to a different employee previously who went to the correct source to get all the details she needed. I knew this second employee was limited in her knowledge, depending on herself, not willing to go to the source to get the right answers. Isn't this how we respond at times, anxious about our limitations and hiding under garments of our own choosing instead of delighting in the covering of Christ? Isn't this how Adam and Eve reacted to the cunningness of the serpent, their apprehension giving way to foolishness? Malachi 2:16 points to this unfaithfulness, "...I hate a man's covering himself with violence as well as with his garment..." When we allow sin to contaminate our lives, we are left hiding under the garment of shame. But in our faithlessness Christ desires for us to see Him as the Faithful One, who will "...clothe us with His garments of salvation and array us in His robe of Righteousness..." Isaiah 61:10. It is His invitation to us to choose Him, the only True Source.
A teacher was very young, fresh out of college. She had a young class and obviously limited experience. A shortcoming of hers was addressed for the second time and she justified her actions, yet was sorry for them. When we acknowledge our shortcomings, God is able to forgive us and fill our lives with His Joy. The difference between the second employee in the example above and the teacher is clear. The employee had a heart of pride, but the teacher had a heart of understanding. She understood she was lacking, but the employee refused to ackowledge any weakness. We don't desire for our limitations to be revealed or for our lack of knowledge to be made known, but when we do we can delight in the richest of fare, an abiding relationship with Christ. He loves you as you are and is waiting for you to turn your heart towards Him, to be your Blessing and to bring you Joy. Are you thirsty? Are you hungry? Are you in need? He says, "Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost." Isaiah 55:1. Then, He will lavish you with His love and your heart could desire nothing more.