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Having a Q and A with God

Malachi Questions God and He Responds

In the short book of Malachi, there is a reoccurring phrase “but you ask” (along with a few of variations thereof). This turns into a Question and Answer monologue, with God voicing the people’s unspoken questions and then responding. It’s like having a Q and A with God.

Malachi records the whole thing, allowing us to explore the exchange and consider what God has to say. Although Malachi’s culture is vastly different from our reality, there are still lessons we can learn—if we are willing.

Q: How have you loved us?

A: Consider your ancestors Jacob and Esau. I loved Jacob and hated Esau. Do you get it now? (Malachi 1:2-3).

Q: How have we shown contempt for your name?

A: By giving me defiled offerings (Malachi 1:6-7).

Q: How have we defiled you?

A: By giving to me what is not suitable for anyone else (Malachi 1:7-8).

Q: Why do you no longer pay attention to our offerings or accept them?

A: You have been unfaithful to your wife and broken your marriage vows (Malachi 2:13-14).

Q: How have we wearied you?

A: By doing bad, yet claiming it is good and pleases me (Malachi 2:17).

Q: How are we to return to you?

A: Stop robbing me (Malachi 3:7-8).

Q: How do we rob you?

A: By withholding some of your tithes and offerings (Malachi 3:8-10).

Q: What have we said against you?

A: By saying it is futile to serve me when I don’t bless you for doing what is expected (Malachi 3:13-14).

Summary of a Q and A with God

These eight exchanges address the people’s relationship with God, discussing love, defiling, and contempt. It talks about offerings that don’t matter.

About the people wearying God, robbing from him, and speaking against him. And buried in the middle of the exchange is a prescription for how to return to God.

Now, let’s apply the Q and A with God to us today.

Learn more about all twelve of the Bible’s Minor Prophets in Peter’s new book, Dear Theophilus, Minor Prophets: 40 Prophetic Teachings about Unfaithfulness, Punishment, and Hope

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices. Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.

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Book: Dear Theophilus, Minor Prophets

Dear Theophilus, Minor Prophets: 40 Prophetic Teachings about Unfaithfulness, Punishment, and Hope

You may know about the prophet Jonah, the guy who spent a three-day time-out in the belly of a large fish, but what about some of the lesser-known prophets?

Do you know of Micah, Obadiah, or Malachi?

What about Nahum, Zephaniah, or Zechariah? Oh, my! The list goes on. It’s enough to make our minds spin.

Rounding out these twelve Minor Prophets are Amos, Hosea, Habakkuk, Haggai, and Joel.

The Bible includes the work of these twelve prophets who carry the unfortunate label of minor. It’s not that their work isn’t significant, it’s that their books are shorter.

If you’re like most people, you scarcely remember their names, let alone having ever read their books in the Bible.

It’s time we change this.

In the book Dear Theophilus, Minor Prophets, you’ll discover:

  • The order of each prophet’s ministry (because the Bible doesn’t list them chronologically)
  • The significant messages they address
  • Their place in the biblical timeline
  • The umbrella of hope that outshines criticism of unfaithfulness and prophecies of punishment
  • The powerful way their words apply to us today

In book four of the Dear Theophilus series, you get all this and more:

  • Thought-provoking insights that are part Bible study and part devotional
  • A deeper understanding of these lesser-known prophets
  • A greater appreciation of how the Old Testament informs our lives today

Let’s dive into the intriguing lives and ministries of these amazing messengers from God in the book Dear Theophilus, Minor Prophets: 40 Prophetic Teachings about Unfaithfulness, Punishment, and Hope.

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices. Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.

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Bible Insights

When Is the Right Time to Close a Church?

Churches Close for Tangible Problems, But Maybe Some Should Close for Spiritual Reasons

In the book of Malachi, God laments about his people. Specifically he’s down on the priests because they show contempt for him. Their worship is so off-track that God wishes one of the priests would just shut the temple doors.

This would at least keep them from lighting useless fires on his alter, from having useless worship. He’s so frustrated with them that he won’t accept their sacrifices anyway.

So why bother? Just close the temple. This is a shocking thought, a seeming heretical idea.

Churches Close Every Day

We hear of churches closing all the time. It’s usually due to one of two things. Often it’s for a lack of funds—because the people left aren’t giving enough to keep the church’s doors open. The other reason churches close is a lack of people—for too many have left.

Generally these two items are tied to one another. Attendance drops, and then giving drops. Programs get cut, and attendance drops more. This continues in a downward spiral. Eventually there aren’t enough people left to do the work and not enough money to pay the bills. Shutting down is the only option.

Spiritually Dead Churches Should Close Too

I’ve never heard of a church closing because they lost their way spiritually, because their worship has become offensive to God. Yet I wonder if this spiritual malady isn’t just as common—perhaps even more so.

That their reason for gathering together each week is too off track from what God yearns for.

I wonder if God grows sick of these misled congregations and wishes they would just close their doors. These spiritually impotent churches are just as dead—perhaps even more so—as the ones who no longer have enough people or money to continue.

Shutdown Institutional Churches

Most churches (and especially denominations) become institutions over time. As institutions they seek to perpetuate themselves regardless of the circumstances. In their struggle for survival, they lose sight of why they existed in the first place.

Instead of seeking to serve their community and offer salvation through Jesus, their focus grows inward. Their priority is on self-preservation at all costs.

When our churches and their service become spiritually dead, God may want us to close our doors and not further profane his reputation. Click To Tweet

Malachi Speaks to Us Today

Some would argue that God’s words through his prophet Malachi apply only to the priests and to the temple of his day. This is an Old Testament thing. Projecting them on today’s church is taking the text out of context. Perhaps.

But if we can’t learn from the Old Testament, why bother to read it?

In an appropriate application, Malachi’s words to shut the doors of the temple are a warning that we should take seriously today. When our churches and their service become spiritually dead, God may want us to close our doors and not further profane his reputation.

Before you assume I’m talking about someone else’s church, take a serious look at your own. Is it time to close church?

[Read through the Bible with us this year. Today’s reading is Malachi 1-4, and today’s post is on Malachi 1:10.]

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices. Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.

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Bible Insights

Posts about the Minor Prophets

Posts about the Minor Prophets

For the past several months, most of the ABibleADay posts have been about the minor prophets. Recall that they are called minor not because their prophecy is insignificant, but because their books are short!

Though more posts may be added in the future, there are no more planned at this time. See all posts about the twelve Minor Prophets:

  1. Hosea
  2. Joel
  3. Amos
  4. Obadiah
  5. Jonah
  6. Micah
  7. Nahum
  8. Habakkuk
  9. Zephaniah
  10. Haggai
  11. Zechariah
  12. Malachi

Learn more about all twelve of the Bible’s Minor Prophets in Peter’s new book, Dear Theophilus, Minor Prophets: 40 Prophetic Teachings about Unfaithfulness, Punishment, and Hope

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices. Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.