We’ve been chatting about deceiving ourselves (see previous posts) and concurrently I’ve been studying Malachi. Guess what? The Book of Malachi is all about self-deception. It’s all about the prophet Malachi giving God’s perspective of the Israelites’s blind spots. Through a series of cataloging the Israelites’ questions, God tries to bring them back to sanity and a heart for Him. In reading those questions, I came up with several ways that we can be unaware of our blind spots. As a result, we might be able to identify where we’re missing hearing God or responding to Him. Let’s take a look.
Here are the questions that the Israelites give to God:
1:2: “How have You loved us?”
1:6: ‘How have we despised Your name?’
1:7: ‘How have we defiled You?’
2:14: ‘For what reason?’
2:17: “How have we wearied Him?”
3:7: ‘How shall we return?’
3:8: ‘How have we robbed You?’
3:13 ‘What have we spoken against You?’
I hope you’ll read through Malachi to get the total package, but I think we can get a sense of the attitudes of self-deception from their questions.
Do you hear:
- the questioning?
- the demanding for God to show proof?
- the arguing?
- the talking back?
- the nit-picking?
- the denial?
- the compartmentalizing?
- the lack of listening?
I’m chagrined to recognize my own voice and tone in those questions. When I don’t want to obey or see it God’s way, I can come up with all sorts of arguments. Have mercy, Lord!
What gives me hope in this book about rebels is God’s patience and His faithfulness to answer every question and to try to reveal Himself to the Israelites. He offers them hope of relationship if they will turn from their stubborn ways. Yes, He does say He’ll curse them (2:2) because “you are not taking it to heart” but He also says He will bless them abundantly by opening “the windows of heaven and pour out for you a blessing until it overflows” (3:10) if they will turn to Him in obedience.
To know God’s patient heart and faithful wooing is so encouraging.
“Lord, reveal to me my own stubborn arguments and demands. Thank you that you patiently call to me out of your love and grace. There is hope. Thank you!”