About 10 years ago, a friend and I decided our birthday gift to each other would be to figure out how to crochet together. We picked a night and showed up with a hook each and yarn remnants from the local thrift store. As we enjoyed some dessert, we pulled out the yarn and opened up the computer to YouTube. We would watch part of a tutorial, pause it, practice it, rewatch it, and try it again. By the end of the evening, we were pretty comfortable with how to start a project and with two basic stitches though even an untrained eye could see all the errors. Over the course of the next several weeks, we continued to explore and to stretch our new skills until our little project was finished.
So often we approach the Bible like my friend and I did our crochet project. We bring what we have and hope that within the Bible’s pages we can find instructions to help us make our little project — our lives — something beautiful all on our own. We forget that the Bible is first and foremost not an instruction manual but a love letter from our God, reminding us of who He is. While the Bible is good for teaching, reproof, and instruction (2 Timothy 3:16), the message over and over starts like Malachi with “I have loved you.”
In the pages of the Bible, we see God’s love for us in His:
- creativity throughout creation (Genesis)
- care and provision of His people in Egypt and then in the wilderness (Exodus through Judges)
- patience with His people as they ask for a king they can see (Samuel and Chronicles)
- justice and mercy in Israel’s exile and return (books of the prophets)
- redemption and love in sending Jesus (Gospels)
- continued faithfulness to His people as we wait for His return (New Testament)
The story of the Bible, including Malachi, is kind of a love letter from God to His wayward children to remind them of who He is and of His pursuit of them.
- How has God proved His love for you throughout your life?
- What specific situation stands out to you as a constant reminder that God loves you like a father loves his daughter?
As we read through Malachi together, let’s keep our eyes open first and foremost for who our God is.
- Read Malachi 1:1-5. What do we learn about the character of our God from these verses?
Once we know who our God is, then we can have a right perspective of who we are in relationship to Him.
- Re-read Malachi 1:1-5. We can be very much like the people Israel and Edom. What do we learn about our own hearts, minds, and actions from these five verses?
Unlike my crochet adventure in which I brought my yarn and I did my own work, watching YouTube only for what it offered me, we bring ourselves to our God not because He is useful to us but because He is beautiful. As we gaze upon His beauty, He begins to transform our hearts, minds, and actions to be more like Him. Take a moment to fill in the blanks in the statement below:
Because my God is _________, I see that I am ______.
What is one thing that I can do today to live in light of that truth?
— Jamie Harms
Dear Heavenly Father, We humbly come before You knowing that we are stubborn and ungrateful like Israel. We question You and Your love and complain about our circumstances, yet You are patient with us and remind us over and over again how much You love us. As we approach Your Word today, open our eyes to see You as beautiful and holy. May the words of our mouths, the meditations of our hearts, and the actions of our hands and feet be a fragrant offering unto You today. Amen.