“I the LORD do not change. So you, the descendants of Jacob, are not destroyed.” Malachi 3:6
This is an interesting passage. First, God says that he does not change with circumstances or emotions, as we do. He is steadfast and faithful to his people. He keeps the terms of his covenant with them.
I read an interesting commentary on the next part of the verse about not being destroyed. John Gill said that this refers to the destruction of Jerusalem, and that the Christians would not be destroyed when the city fell. We know from history that over a million Jews were killed in the destruction of Jerusalem, yet there is no record of Christians being in the city when this happened. They evidently were warned and all left the city ahead of time.
““The whole body, however, of the church at Jerusalem, having been commanded by a divine revelation, given to men of approved piety there before the war, removed from the city, and dwelt at a certain town beyond the Jordan, called Pella.” (Eusebius, early Christian writer)
“When [Cestius Gallus] unexpectedly and unaccountably raised the siege, the Christians took that opportunity to escape. … [As] Vespasian was approaching with his army, all who believed in Christ left Jerusalem and fled to Pella, and other places beyond the river Jordan; and so they all marvellously escaped the general shipwreck of their country: not one of them perished.” (Adam Clark, citing writings of Epiphanes)
Another commentary said that Malachi 3:6 foretells the coming of Christ, when Christians will be given eternal life.
To me, Malachi 3:6 reminds me of the famous passage of Lamentations 3 that we often sing:
“Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for him.”
Both passages say the same thing. God is faithful. Thus, we are not destroyed.
And really, isn’t it all the same, whichever interpretation of this verse we hold to be true? God preserved the early Christians during the destruction of Jerusalem. He preserves our life for eternity today. He promises that whatever we go through, he has a renewing fountain of mercy for us, and thus we can trust in him to preserve us.
We can say, as Lamentations 3 goes on to say, “It is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord . . . Let him sit alone in silence, for the Lord has laid it on him.”
I love this verse because it reminds me that we have to trust when things aren’t going as they think they should. It was really great how Mike preached yesterday that we can come to a point of thanking God for our trials, because we can come to accept and trust that his plan is what is best for us.
Several friends graduated this past weekend. One was Chris Lucy.
This is what Chris posted on Facebook yesterday: “A lot of people told me to give up, don’t try because you will fail. But so many people also taught me to fight for what I want in life. After many all nighters, doubt and in some instances very real depression I finished. I don’t know if any one person knows exactly what it took for this moment to happen, but people saw bits and pieces. I pray to God the story doesn’t end here. I pray that my story inspires others to pursue their dreams and always put God first. Live a life to imitate Jesus. God gets all the honor.”
Chris went through some very dark times on his way to graduation, some times when he could have given into the temptation to not trust in God’s plan. But he always put God first. He stuck with God as the one who could get him through.
My friend Kim Dixon also graduated.
I remember Kim years ago, when she wanted so much to have a baby, but couldn’t get pregnant. Her husband, Brandon, had a less than ideal job working the night shift at Walgreens. It was a challenging time. But now Kim is the proud mom of a two year old. And Brandon got his dream job of working for Habitat for Humanity, and is making a difference with his work. And in the midst of all this, Kim decided to go back to school and pursue a better career, and she just graduated with the qualifications to be a school counselor!
Kim also could have given into discouragement and the temptation to not trust in God’s plan, but she chose to hold onto God as her life preserver.
So this week, let’s all trust, no matter how tough it gets, that God is faithful. He never changes.
He is working the plan that is best for us.
We will not be destroyed.
We are pressed on all sides, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed. II Cor 4:9