Contract or Covenant

“You have wearied the LORD with your words. But you say, “How have we wearied him?” By saying, “Everyone who does evil is good in the sight of the LORD, and he delights in them.” Or by asking, “Where is the God of justice?”” (Malachi 2:17 ESV)

The people have wearied the Lord by accusing Him of being unjust and uninvolved.  It is funny that the eternal God of the universe would describe Himself as being “wearied,” for our God never sleeps (Psalm 121:3).  The people were back in the land and had rebuilt the temple, but they were still under foreign rule, were insignificant on the global stage and prosperity was nowhere to be found.  They looked around at other, pagan, nations and saw their prosperity and they were bitter.  They reckoned that God was not upholding His end of the bargain – the part where He promised to bless them (Deuteronomy 27-28).

The entire book of Malachi is addressing the people’s low view of God.  A low view of God and an elevated view of ourselves always produces bitterness.  This is because God is there to serve us & meet our needs because we have done our part.  This is contractual language, not covenantal language.  We have paid our rent, done our part, followed the rules and now God is letting down His end of the bargain.  That is exactly where the people are – they are going through the religious motions and “doing their part” and God was not blessing them.  They were so blind and calloused that they could not even understand God’s dissatisfaction with them.  The weren’t loving God with their heart, mind & strength (Deuteronomy 6:5) – they were loving themselves.  They didn’t want God, they only wanted what God could give them. 

If you find yourself struggling with bitterness, is it because you believe that God owes you something that He has not delivered because you have prayed & obeyed?  In the gospel, we get God – that’s it; we get reconciled with the God of the universe and we become family.  Disappointment and difficulty are part of life, but we need to beg God to get us to a place where we no longer believe that He owes us anything.  He does not and yet He gracious provides all that we need.  Lord, help us to see you as you really are!