09/23/22 Defensiveness

READING: Malachi 2:10-4:6, Joel 1:1-3:21

It’s quite difficult to read our own hearts with integrity. We rationalize our sin. We blame others for our wrong. We shift our moral stances in accordance with our actions; that is, we are prone to changing our positions to match our choices. At the same time, we focus on the good things we do and choose not to consider our sin. Ultimately, we deceive ourselves. 

The people of Malachi’s day were also prone to these errors. The prophet confronted their sin several times, and the people typically demanded proof of his claims. They had wearied the Lord with their words of complaint, yet they asked, “How have we wearied him?” (Mal 2:17). The Lord called them to repentance, yet they asked, “How can we return?” (Mal 3:7)—as if to suggest they saw no evidence they had ever moved away from following God. When the prophetic word accused them of robbing God, their question was obvious: “How do we rob you [God]?” (Mal 3:8). They had spoken harsh words against God, but they likewise questioned that accusation: “What have we spoken against you?” (Mal 3:17). 

We’re too often just like God’s people refusing to face their sin—a fact that ought to push us to hear God’s Word humbly, listen to His Spirit’s conviction carefully, and pay attention diligently when faithful believers lovingly confront us in our wrong. Defending ourselves is seldom the answer. 

PERSONAL REFLECTION: Do you ever convince yourself of the “rightness” of something wrong?   

DAILY PRAYER: “God, I need Your help to simply hear You and obey You today.” 

TOMORROW’S READING: Mark 1:1, Luke 1:1-4, John 1:1-18, Matthew 1:1-17, Luke 3:23-38, Luke 1:5-38


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