Cruising away: Life can become like a cruise that takes us away from home – and God watches us exercise our free will while calling us back to Himself. Malachi is a “Come back” message.
Covenant is the key to revival
REVIVAL is promised. Malachi doesn’t talk in these terms until the end of the book – except in the sense of the revival of relationship. However he gives us valuable pointers all through the book.
Is a revived relationship different? What do we mean by revival? In Malachi’s words, it is people knowing they are “Mine” Mal. 3:17 and enjoying God’s favour on them, which leads to other renewed relationships, for example between the generations.
We have expectations of revival that usually involve a lot of noise and razzamatazz. A great many people went to hear Billy Graham at Haringay more than a generation ago, and that was a form of revival. The revivals which John Wesley saw involved both crowds, and changed lives through personal discipleship through weekly small groups called class meetings. The revivals of the 1860s saw large prayer meetings fill London theatres – surely a revival of relationship with God – which later translated into a spate of church building. We want the grand and highly visible side of revival, but real revival is the person by person change of heart that happens first.
Ones and twos
Revival starts with ones and twos coming into closer, more trusting, more passionate relationship with God. This is what empowers the fathering of those who are young, or young in Christian terms – disciples making disciples Mal. 4:6.
Going through the book I have found 10 keys to addressing our apathy and releasing the revival that God desires. This isn’t neat or logical, but Malachi probably preached this as a series of messages that were not tidy or polished. The Holy Spirit brings it all together for us, and I’ll attempt a more memorable kind of summary at the end.
- Knowing and accepting God’s covenant love and partnership – Mal. 1:2
Honouring that partnership and relationship – Mal. 1:6
Entreating God’s favour — Mal. 1:9
Being honest – Mal. 1:14
Priests (who are the priests now?) listening to God and honouring God – Mal. 2:1-2
Being true to the way of God, and the covenant established for priests to love and instruct – Mal. 2:8
Prioritising right relationships with all (not just a select ‘set’) — take heed that you do not deal treacherously – Mal. 2:16
Giving God the ‘whole tithe’ and not selling short measure or giving Him second best – Mal. 3:8-12
Renouncing arrogance and fearing (revering, loving) the Lord – Mal. 3:13, Mal. 3:16
Renewing (constantly?) the relationship and remembering the covenant – Mal. 3:16-17, Mal. 4:4
Let’s get that down to five manageable, memorable things we can do:
The 5 things we can do
• Be aware of My covenant love – it’s a partnership
• Be reverent and honour Me in that relationship – love Me back
• Be true – to the way we agreed
• Be honest – your dealings with Me and with others
• Be humble – depend on Me, don’t go it alone.
In a word?
And to put this all in a couple of words? God is saying, through Malachi, “I have [always] loved you” and…
We can all hear and respond to that, at any time.