As you read, consider: What might God be saying to me? Summarize your thoughts in a sentence or two.
My thoughts (Steve Adams):
It’s the very first word of this passage that strikes me as being deceptively important — remember. We think of the word as being strictly the ability to recall, but I think God was asking the readers of Malachi to do something much bigger than simply recalling what Moses decreed. Likewise, God calls us to something more comprehensive than simply remembering the truths we’ve learned.
For example, I remember that I intended to make a budget for this month, but I nevertheless went out and overspent. Or, I made a budget, but still overspent. Or, I remembered to set my alarm for 6:30 am, but, when 6:30 arrived, the bed felt so good that I couldn’t resist sleeping for another hour. The hunger to overspend or oversleep are just two of the countless urges we are confronted with.
Life is full of examples of humankind’s struggle to attain self-control — the person who can’t resist overeating when there’s lots of good food in the refrigerator; the person who can’t resist drinking too much when they’re at the party; the person who can’t resist coldly criticizing a mutual acquaintance when sitting with a group of gossipers; even the person who can’t resist a sexual encounter even though they have pledged fidelity to their spouse.
When we fall to temptations like these, have we truly remembered? I don’t think so — not, at least, in the way God desires us to. God wants us to remember with our whole heart and soul; to the comprehensive, holistic extent that we’ll do what we know is right, even when that requires us to forsake what we’d rather do. When that happens, we have integrity. For Christians, I think this means trusting God that we will have an abundance of pleasure when we stay on the sacred path laid out before us.
Now, let’s be honest! When we’re truly being tempted, our idea of pleasure may not be the same as God’s! It’s at those times, though, that we need to remember that, as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are God’s ways higher than our ways, and God’s thoughts higher than our thoughts!
Thought for the day: Lord Jesus, help me internalize the standards you set for me, so that when enticement and opportunity meet, I’ll have the self-control to choose the high road.
We encourage you to include a time of prayer with this reading. If you need a place to get started, consider the guidelines on the How to Pray page.