A powerful word that Ed Mathews wrote for June 6:
â€œYou have said harsh things against Me,â€ Malachi 3:13.
The Lord loves His people. The pure in heart believe in the fairness of God. Regardless of the circumstances, they put their trust in Him, Psalms 73:1. Other folks are not so sure. In difficult times, when the wicked prosper, those who have a shallow trust in God are more vulnerable.
â€œBut as for me, my feet had almost slipped; I had nearly lost my foothold. For I envied the arrogant when I saw the prosperity of the wicked,â€ Psalms 73:2,3.
On the slippery slope of tentative faith, â€œharsh thingsâ€ are said about God, Malachi 3:13. The basic meaning of â€œharshâ€ is â€œstrong,â€ I Kings 20:23. The term carries the sense of â€œsevere,â€ Genesis 41:56, and â€œhard,â€ Exodus 7:13. The word is translated in various ways because it occurs in different contexts (though the underlying idea is the same). Doubters are prone to say harsh, severe, and hard things against God.
The reluctant say that it is â€œfutileâ€ to serve Him. There is no â€œgainâ€ in keeping His commands, Malachi 3:14,15. These people believe religion ought to pay big dividends now. It ought to bring great rewards immediately. The general feeling is that folks surely will not serve God for nothing, Job 1:9. In spite of that sentiment, the faithful may live a lifetime without seeing a reward, Hebrews 11:13.
â€¢ Harsh words. Religious hirelingsâ€”those who obey for the sake of a rewardâ€”feel cheated. They go about like â€œmournersâ€ for no profit, Malachi 3:14. God gains nothing from their righteousness, Job 22:2,3. This stark reality causes many atheists to blaspheme openly. It causes some believers to weep secretly. Those who have harsh words for God are pretenders. They do not really trust God, Isaiah 58:3,4. Their hearts are far from the Lord. They worship Him in vain, Matthew 15:8,9. Beware! Their â€œharsh wordsâ€ will be silenced, Jude 14,15.
â€¢ Quiet hopes. There are also those who â€œfear the Lord.â€ They talk among themselves. God â€œlistens,â€ Malachi 3:16. Their positive thoughts about Him are written on â€œa scroll of remembrance.â€ They know in whom they have believed, II Timothy 1:12. They trustâ€”that if they endureâ€”they will reign with Him, II Timothy 2:12. They are sure that those who persevere will be blessed, James 5:11. Therefore, â€œjudge nothing before the appointed time,â€ I Corinthians 4:5. In the end, God will claim His faithful servants, Malachi 3:17,18.Lord, life does not always seem fair. I know You are just and equitable in all Your ways. Give me the faith to be patient. May no harsh words come out of my mouth. This is my plea, in Your beloved Son, Amen.https://plownewground.wordpress.com/plow-new-ground-devotional-a-year-of-daily-devotional-study/