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FROM THE SERVANT GENERAL
 
 

FROM THE SERVANT GENERAL

OUR THEME FOR 2011
(Part 8)

BEING PREPARED TO PREPARE THE WAY


December 23, 2010

Today’s readings
Malachi 3:1-24
Psalm 25:4-14

Since the restoration of 2007, the past years have been preparation for us to fully take on the very strength of God. The awesome Almighty is strong and powerful, and we are raised to become His very instruments. So we can look to taking on the strength of God, if we are to effectively do His divine work. However, we need to become worthy instruments.

How does that happen? We need to be purified. We are sinful, disobedient, unfaithful. We have our own priorities. We have not given our all. We need to be refined “like gold or like silver that (we) may offer due sacrifice to the Lord.” (Mal 3:3b). And the due sacrifice is all that we are and all that we have.

Why have we not given due sacrifice to God? Because we have not truly been in awe of Him as the great Almighty. We have not taken on the proper posture of a creature before the Creator, of a slave before the Master. Here is the dire consequence: “I will be swift to bear witness against .... those who do not fear me, says the Lord of hosts.” (Mal 3:5). If we truly realized who God is and what God wants us to do, we would hold nothing back.

God brought us to Lamentations in 2007. God brings us to Job in 2010. But there are still many who are not learning the lessons, who are quick to dismiss the call to being laid low and humbled, to redemptive suffering, to embracing the cross. There are those who say, “what do we profit by .... going about in penitential dress in awe of the Lord of hosts?” (Mal 3:14).

And so we end up not giving God what is His due. We deprive Him of His rightful share of our time, talent and treasure. In doing so, it is not so much that we deprive God, but that we deprive ourselves! “Return to me, and I will return to you, says the Lord of hosts.” (Mal 3:7b). How can God give us the fullness of His very own strength when we are unwilling, uncooperative, unfaithful instruments?

What then must we do? We must have true reverential fear of God. In doing so, we realize that we owe Him our very selves. Then as we turn our whole lives over to God, we just trust in Him (our theme for 2009) to do what is best for us, for He is the just and righteous Almighty (our theme for 2010). Then our names will be written in the “record book .... of those who fear the Lord and trust in his name.” (Mal 3:16b). The record book contains the list of God’s intimate friends.

Since God called us and raised us and intends to use us, then He necessarily guides, instructs and forms us. This God wants to do. How can this happen in our lives?

First, we must want the same thing. We must constantly pray, “Make known to me your ways, Lord; teach me your paths. Guide me in your truth and teach me” (Ps 25:4-5a).

Second, we must understand and live out the fear of the Lord, because this is the beginning of wisdom, of all true learning. “Who are those who fear the Lord? God shows them the way to choose.” (Ps 25:12).

Third, if we then truly understand our place before the Almighty, then we must humble ourselves. God “guides the humble rightly, and teaches the humble the way.” (Ps 25:9).

Finally, it will not only be our heart and mind and spirit being formed, but such has to be expressed in action. We must live out our covenant with God. “All the paths of the Lord are faithful love toward those who honor the covenant demands.” (Ps 25:10). We must be faithful to what we have committed to God. “The counsel of the Lord belongs to the faithful” (Ps 25:14a). This shows not only our obedience, humility and awe, but it is something also practical. It is our covenant that outlines how we are to live our lives, how to move along the path of holiness, in order to become true instruments of God. Thus, to those who are faithful, “the covenant instructs them.” (Ps 25:14b).

The effects of all the above on our lives are truly tremendous. We choose to obey or not, to be faithful or not, to allow God to form us or not. We must be mindful of the consequences of our choices.

  • Either we will be accursed, or God will open “the floodgates of heaven” upon us (Mal 3:9a,10b).
  • Either God will “bear witness against” us, or “all nations will call (us) blessed” (Mal 3:5,12).
  • Either our crops will be destroyed and our field left barren, or we “will be a delightful land” (Mal 3:11-12).
  • Either we will be burned as stubble, or on us “will arise the sun of justice with its healing rays” (Mal 3:19-20).

To the reasonable mind, that is not much of a choice, given the consequences. And to the renewed mind, the right choice is very clear. We want to “live well and prosper, and (our) descendants inherit the land.” (Ps 25:13).

God calls us to be like Him. God wants to use us and for us to do His work in His strength. We must allow God to form us, to enable us to do a mighty work until Jesus returns once again. We allow ourselves to be prepared, so that we in turn can prepare the way of the Lord. “Lo, I am sending my messenger to prepare the way before me” (Mal 3:1a).

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