How well do you wait for something?
How long will you wait for something?
And in the waiting, what posture do you take?
I love to wait for Christmas. The build up, the anticipation of the day – the excitement for me is brought about by pleasant memories. The –“Oh I can’t wait until Christmas” usually plays out in remembering Christmas’s past, in preparing and looking forward to family coming together.
I am very blessed in the waiting…But thousands of years, generations of waiting for the Promised Messiah is a different story. As is the waiting for your own personal rescue from desperate situations.
Desperate people tend to do desperate things. A waiting people grow weary in the waiting. But there is something to remembrance even when the waiting is long, seemingly hopeless, there is a redemptiveness to remembering.
Malachi jolts his people back to remembering where they have come from, who this God is and still is and what He is about to do.
There are numerous examples in the Bible showing us our humanity when it comes to waiting.
Left to our own devices, we don’t wait well. Take for example the story of the Israelites waiting for Moses to come down out of the mountain. In their impatience, they forged their own gods. They took matters into their own hands instead of waiting.
It is hard to imagine what this waiting must have been like. I mean a rescue from the Messiah was what they hung their whole lives on.
We have trouble just waiting in line at the grocery store for 5 minutes. Sometimes all of our patience just flies out the window while we wait. We aren’t expectant but we become somewhat belligerent and cynical in that 5 minutes, blaming the person in front of us who seems quite slow at writing out a check. We blame the clerk….yada yada yada.
And the promised Messiah? – People heard the promise given for generations, hundreds of years of waiting.
And in the waiting, they began to make up their own explanations about the signs of the time. Messiah will come when each woman bears 100 babies, when each cluster of grapes bears 1000 grapes, as well as other absurd ideas.
Waiting for a rescue often leads us to grow faint, to grow weary in the waiting. And one of the fruits of waiting and waiting that develops is cynicism. Towards God.
That’s exactly what happened to the people in Malachi’s time. They grew tired in the waiting and in that living out of their humdrum lives, they became cynical towards this same God that had been promising a Rescuing King for centuries.
We get a glimpse of just how cynical they had become in the first few verses of Ch. 1.
Malachi, whose name means “my messenger”, has come to confront, to agitate, to create a crisis in order to wake up his people. They have fallen asleep in their waiting, grown weary and taken life matters into their own hands, seemingly oblivious to their past, to their God and His promise of a Messiah.
He begins by an announcement – God says “I love you”.
Whoa, that is great news and should be encouraging news along the way of waiting. But this announcement brought forth their cynicism that had been nurtured by their own disappointments.
Their response – “Really? How have you loved us?”
In our waiting, we forget where we have come from. We forget the many rescues, the many times God has met us in our brokenness.
A waiting people gets discouraged.
A waiting people forgets where they have come from.
A waiting people loses sight of who this God is, and how much He loves us.
Malachi continues to defend this statement – God says ‘I love you.’ by relaying to his people God’s response to their reaction.
God says ‘Look at history…’ and proceeds to remind them of how he has loved them.’Yes, take a good look. Then you’ll see how faithfully I’ve loved you…’
Malachi was right to start with this basic premise, which is the Good News in a nutshell that God loves us!
This announcement caused a stir in the people. An agitated response. A blip on the screen of their humdrum life.
Malachi now had their attention.
And from this statement Malachi begins to engage his people with a wake up call.
Get ready. The King is coming! And oh by the way, here are some things that need to change while you wait so that you don’t miss the biggest event in the history of man!
He desires that they wait in hope. That they stay engaged and alert to this loving God. He has come to stir up their humdrum lives so that they will not miss Christmas, the coming of the Son of Man, Jesus.
I don’t know about you, but I need to be reminded from time to time to take stock of where I am in the waiting.
After all, God says ‘I love you’!
That truth alone should be worth the wait of a lifetime.