Malachi 2: Repenting for Dishonoring God’s Name by Living a Life of Compromise.
Christian. What pops into your mind when you hear that word? Is the term easy to define, or does the term come with mixed connotations and meanings? In our find your own truth society, do you find being a Christian so hard to define that you use some other term to describe your faith, such as “follower of Christ”?
In Malachi Chapter 2, the prophet was addressing a society that was losing its way. Priests were more concerned with preserving their livelihoods than they were the purity of their service and the people’s offerings. The sacred was treated as common. Spiritual leadership was compromised for fear of losing the support of the elite in the congregation of God. For their part, the people feigned at being spiritual, but their lives when they weren’t in the temple were anything but spiritual. According to the prophet, the people’s faith and purity had been compromised, as illustrated by men leaving their wives for younger, foreign women and by the whole nation calling what was evil good, and what was good evil.
As hard as it is to hear, there’s a lot in Malachi 2 that we can identify with in our post-modern society. We live in the age of the anti-hero, where the traditional bad guy is lauded more than the traditional good guy. The lives of believers can be hard to distinguish from those who are not believers. What we would have considered in the past to be a clear teaching of the Bible we compromise for fear of being offensive or “on the wrong side of history.” Being a Christian is becoming increasingly more ridiculed—not because we are taking tough stands against sin and oppression but rather because we are not.
Though we are to care for the world, we must not be entangled in it. We must be careful to maintain both our moral and our spiritual purity. In its efforts to remain relevant, the modern Church has struggled with the line between relevance and conformity, and in that struggle, it has many times lost its purity. Scripture tells us that both Abraham and Lot were righteous men, but the man who kept himself separated (Abraham) had a greater impact on the lost community than the man who compromised in an effort to be accepted (Lot). Relevance is not measured by our fashion or style of music—relevance is measured by our love for God and others.
The scary thing is that the Israelites thought they were in a good place with God. Malachi tells that they wept on the altar of the temple, not understanding why they’d lost favor with God. Malachi goes on to say that God was wearied by their prayers for justice, not because God didn’t care about justice but rather because those crying out for justice were themselves the ones who were reveling in the evil. They had so lost their moral compass they could no longer distinguish between right and wrong.
I don’t know that I can think many things scarier than the thought of my prayers being wearisome to God. It is truly a sobering thought and should be wake up call to all of us as believers. Our God is a God of love, but He is also holy and pure, and He desires a bride who is pure as well. Let us examine our lives and repent of those areas where we have compromised.
1. Consider our culture and the influence of Hollywood. Do you see areas in the Church where our culture has negatively influenced the Church? (Don’t focus on the easy things like music or dress—dig deeper into Church culture.)
Take a moment to examine your own life. Are there areas of your life where you compromise? Why?
In Malachi we see a people who appear faithful to God, but who were blind to the sin in their lives. What
are your blind spots? If you have difficulty identifying your blind spots, do you have someone in your life who can help you do that?