Most people know that I am a fan of the Kentucky Wildcats. Fewer people know that I am a fan of the Dallas Cowboys. When I was young, I made the choice for whatever reason that these teams would be my favorite. Here is something that some of you will understand. No matter what happens with these teams, I will always be a fan. I still find it easy to be a UK fan, while I find it difficult to be a Cowboys fan. If I am honest, I would rather not be a Cowboys fan. However, something in me cannot stop cheering for the Cowboys. No matter how bad the team may be or no matter how much turmoil the organization is in, I still love the Cowboys. I cannot turn away from the teams I have chosen to love. If you are not a sports person, maybe you understand this feeling when it comes to a favorite musician or favorite actor or actress, or maybe even a favorite restaurant. Sometimes we choose to love things and even if things go a little wrong, we still choose to love.
In Malachi 1, God reaffirms his love for his people. As we read the Scriptures, God chose the Israelites, the descendants of Jacob, to be his chosen people to bless the whole world. That will never change. Here in Malachi the Israelites were questioning God’s love because of their difficult situation. In part, they felt that God wasn’t punishing the evil and wicked nations around them. God tried to help them understand that he was a God of justice by noting that the Edomites suffered greatly by his hand for their wickedness and the Edomites were even descendants of Jacob’s brother Esau. God is both a God of love and justice.
As we read these first verses of Malachi, we need to be mostly reminded of the steadfast love of God. Difficulties in life do not mean that God does not love you. This life is full of trouble. The good news for us is that trouble doesn’t separate us from the love of God. I am reminded of the New Testament verses that reaffirm this. In Romans 8 it says…
Romans 8:35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? 36 As it is written, “For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.” 37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
You can be assured that God’s love for you never changes. That is good news for a people who have a tendency to take God’s love for granted and who have a tendency to take advantage of God’s love. First, take a moment to thank God for His steadfast love. Then I want to encourage you to consider what your response to God’s love should be. Hopefully your response will be to love Him in return.