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Litany of woe

“Because of you I will rebuke your descendants; I will smear on your faces the dung from your festival sacrifices, and you will be carried off with it..." Malachi 2.3

You can tell God was angry! Imagine threatening to smear the faces of worshippers with the excrement of their offerings. But that is what was on God's mind, on account of the scorn people were showing towards their Almighty Deliverer, by bringing to the temple inferior sacrifices instead of their first-fruits. And that was not all... The priests themselves were neglecting their duties, tolerating the disrespect of their fellow citizens and neglecting their duty to teach and maintain the highest devotional and moral standards. And this was leading to further degeneration in society, most apparent in the soaring divorce rate.

Most alarmingly, no one seems to have noticed - or, at least, they are choosing to turn a blind eye. Through a series of rhetorical questions, the prophet reveals a litany of sinfulness which is injurious to everyone and is provoking God's wrath. There is more to come, both of waywardness and of its antidote. Bear in mind that God's concern is for righteousness and justice, which are ultimately of universal benefit and therefore worth contending for and protecting. There are so many imponderables in life and we all find ourselves on a spectrum between desperation and dilemma - that is to say, at one extreme are those who are fighting for their lives, at the other end are those who are wondering what the point of life may be.

Wherever you find yourself today, surely the best thing is to move in a positive direction? At the very least - and whether we feel like it or not - that initiative sets the one who takes it on a trajectory which is one or several steps closer to flourishing. And, when God's creatures flourish, God is glorified and, when God is glorified, creation sings!



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