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The Scriptorium

King Check

They had a King, but didn't realize it. Malachi 1.14

Return from Exile: Malachi 1 (6)

Pray Psalm 33.13-17.
The LORD looks from heaven;
He sees all the sons of men.
From the place of His dwelling He looks
On all the inhabitants of the earth;
He fashions their hearts individually;
He considers all their works.
No king is saved by the multitude of an army;
A mighty man is not delivered by great strength.
A horse is a vain hope for safety;
Neither shall it deliver any by its great strength.

Sing Psalm 33.13-17.
(Truro: Shout, for the Blessed Jesus Reigns)
God from His throne looks down on men;
He knows our works and made our hearts.
Let not Your Church, let none depend
on strength or skill or human arts.

Read Malachi 1.1-14; meditate on verse 14.

1. Why would someone be cursed?

2. How did God describe Himself?

I wonder if the leaders of God’s people—the priests, Levites, and rulers—didn’t get a little tired of being publicly shamed. Did they think to themselves, or suggest to one another, that things would be different if only they had a king. They’d experienced rebuke, chiding, and humiliation from a scribe and a former cupbearer. Now this prophet was in their face. And true prophets can be hard to control.

But a king! Ah, everyone knew that kings could be flattered and manipulated and that they didn’t like naysayers. If we only had a king, then we could do whatever we wanted because that’s what the king would want to do.

God reminded them that they did have a King. A great King Whose Name was to be feared not only in Israel but among all the nations of the world. No king was placed on the throne to rule over those who had returned to Jerusalem from exile, even though a viable candidate—Zerubbabel—existed at the time. God insisted that His people know Him as their King, look to Him as King, regard and honor Him as King, and bear in mind that He is a great King and will not be dishonored by corners-cutting priests and rulers.

No king was given to Israel after her exile because God was reserving that place for His Son. Jesus came to fulfill all righteousness and save His people from their sins. Upon His resurrection and ascension to heaven, He was given a Kingdom and took His seat at the right hand of God (Dan. 7.13-18; Ps. 110). Now He rules the world with truth and grace, and makes the nations prove the glories of His righteousness and wonders of His love!

Treasures Old and New: Matthew 13.52; Psalm 119.162.
But cursed be the deceiver, who has the correct thing to give, but doesn’t give it.
Cursed be the one who gives junk to the LORD.
Cursed be the deceiver. (Mal. 1.14).

“But a certain man name Ananias, with Sapphira his wife, sold a possession. And he kept back part of the proceeds, his wife also being aware of it, and brought a certain part and laid it at the apostles’ feet” (Acts 5.1, 2). The church-going couple thought they could deceive God and the apostles. No one made them sell that property. No one demanded that they give all the proceeds to the church. They cooked this whole mess up all by themselves. The sin was their pathetic attempt to fool everybody and bring much adulation and praise upon themselves. As Peter confronted him, “Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and keep back part of the price of the land for yourself? While it remained, was it not your own? And after it was sold, was it not in your own control? Why have you conceived this thing in your heart? You have not lied to men but to God” (Acts 5.3, 4). After Peter confronted Sapphira and she too lied to them and to God, they were both neatly fitted for coffins and carried away to their final destination. 

“How is it that you have agreed together to test the Spirit of the Lord?” (Acts 5.9). We observe how ugly that whole scene was, and most assuredly, we do not want to participate, in our Christian walk, in that vein.

“Do not be deceived [or deceive], God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap” (Gal. 6.7). “And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account” (Heb. 4.13).

We must not be captive to the thought processes of the world. We have a new King and Ruler for our lives when we accept God’s wondrous gift of salvation. “Jesus rules the world with truth and grace, and makes the nations prove the glories of His righteousness and wonders of His love.”

Let us be respectful and honoring, with everything that we have and all that we are, to Him Who said,
“I AM a great King, and My Name is to be feared among the nations” (Mal. 1.14).

For reflection
1. Are you ever tempted to give God something less than your best or than what He requires? How can you keep from doing that?

2. How does knowing that Jesus is your King affect the work you do in your Personal Mission Field each day?

3. How can believers encourage one another in giving God their best? Whom will you encourage today?

God's worship would not be confined to Judea, or to any other particular part of the world; for by the gospel the Lord would receive to himself all nations, and come into the possession of his kingdom.
John Calvin (1509-1564), Commentary on Malachi 1.14

Pray Psalm 85.4-13.
Pray that God will revive His people, as He has frequently done in the past. Call on Him to revive you and to transform you more completely into the likeness of Jesus Christ.

Sing Psalm 33.1-12.
(Truro: Shout, for the Blessed Jesus Reigns)
Sing with rejoicing in the LORD,
for praise becomes His righteous ones!
With harps and songs raise grateful words,
and let new songs of praise be sung!

Joyfully shout! His Word is true;
He does His work in faithfulness.
His love prevails the whole world through;
the LORD loves truth and righteousness.

God spoke and heaven came to be,
and all its hosts His Spirit wrought.
He heaps the waters of the sea;
the deeps their dwelling place are taught.

Let all below now fear the LORD;
let all in awe of Him abide!
The worlds exist by His own Word;
let all on earth in Him confide.

He nullifies the nations’ plans;
forever stands His sov’reign Word.
All they are blessed who with Him stand—
the chosen people of the LORD.

T. M. and Susie Moore

Two books can help us understand our own captivity and lead us to seek revival and renewal in the Lord. The Church Captive asks us to consider the ways the Church today has become captive to the world. And Revived! can help us find the way to renewal. Learn more and order your free copies by clicking here and here.

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Except as indicated, all Scriptures are taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. For sources of all quotations, see the weekly PDF of this study. All psalms for singing are from The Ailbe Psalteravailable free by clicking here.

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in the Champlain Valley of Vermont.
Books by T. M. Moore

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