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INCENTIVE TO CONTINUE

There is only so far a person can go if there is no incentive to continue pushing. Among the many reasons Christians get spiritually burned out and give up their faith, a sense of hopelessness and feeling that there may be nothing for them as a reward for all these narrow road walking must be somewhere at the top of the list. I mean, even Peter asked, ‘what’s in this thing for us?’ Satan said to God, ‘does Job fear you for nothing?’ His card was that Job was serving God solely for what was in it for him. But God’s argument was and has still been that his people love Him; with or without the blessings. This of course has separated the boys from the men, through the ages.

However, God also knows that the heart could faint if hope were to be deferred indefinitely. Jesus endured the cross because of the glory that was laid up for him. In Malachi 3, God raised 2 cardinal issues with His people. The first was that they were robbing Him, via their withholding of resources, specifically the tithes and offerings that supply food for His house {these foods are usually for the priests, Levites, less privileged and strangers. God does not consume the foods directly}. So He showed them the offside of their behavior, and also showed them the incentives to restart and continue with the injunction to bring in their tithe and offerings. But I am drawn to the second issue He raised with them; ‘You have spoken arrogantly against me,’ He said.

Like the first accusation, they were confused; ‘How sir? We dare not raise our voices against the almighty!’ Yes you did. ‘Those that feared the lord talked to each other and the lord listened and heard’. The Lord eavesdropped? Call it anything. The very thoughts of our hearts are loud to the ears of the Lord. They did not consider that their hushed discussions were arrogant affront to the Lord. The tone is not the denominator for the interpretation of what was said. As long as the Lord is concerned, it will always be a matter of the heart. The mouth could say all the sweet things, if the heart is not in the right attitude, the Lord is not impressed. The disposition of the hearts as ‘they talked to one another’, the derision at the edge of the mind as it questioned the goodness and almightiness of God was arrogance against Him, nothing less. And the Lord heard them.

And their grouse? It was futile to serve God. Asaph the psalmist had made similar calculations and came to similar conclusion, at least in his preliminary conclusion in the 73rd Psalm. In his own case, his feet almost slipped. Here in Malachi, they that feared the Lord have come to the same conclusion. They considered their financial status and shook their heads. They checked their career progression and didn’t see the kind of progress they hoped for. They checked their dreams and goals compared notes with their unbelieving cousins and concluded in the voice of the amplified version; ‘it is useless to serve God’.

I have not met a Christian who has not come to this point. Unless they have not lasted long enough. I once read a statement by one who has seen so much of such familiar journey of faith and exclaimed to the Lord, ‘No wonder you have so few friends, if you treat your friends like this!’ The men of Malachi added, ‘what do we gain by walking about gloomily like mourners?’

If you stop to think that some people have added to their attitude of piety, a somewhat confusing attribute of always wearing drab and unappealing costumes, have sworn to deprive themselves of anything that enlivens and brings happiness to the body, and have refused to lighten their tout attitude to anything that cannot be responded to with halleluiah, you would then appreciate the sense of the idea of the gloomy procession like mourners.

‘I mean, those girls make up and we don’t. They wear all the worldly things of this world and we have only worn ‘mournful’ clothes without brightness and kept ourselves under the radar, only to be short changed in time of marriage, child bearing and even the good things to take care of life?’

‘We have avoided everything showy or loud. We have been grave in our conduct, and here we are at the end of it all, receiving the short end of the stick. This doesn’t make sense.’

So they called the arrogant blessed. Those who had no restraint have won. They have won in all aspects. That is what it means to be blessed. The ones with loud social media presence and showing have become a criteria of success to which the righteous has fallen terrible below its pass mark. And above that mark, passing in flying colours are those who said no to God, who said no to fellowship back in colleges, in campuses. They called them blessed. They looked at those who have no restrains, no moral barriers, no fear of God to keep them from going any length for any evil they imagined-they wanted to have sex, they had sex where and when and how and with whom they wanted. They wanted to terminate the pregnancy that resulted, no qualms. They wanted to make money, scam and every other dubious means to achieve that goal was not off the table. And what more, they flaunted it for everyone to see. And those who feared the Lord also saw it, and they called them blessed. And they concluded, ‘certainly evil doers prosper, and when they put God to the test, they get away with it.’ The implication? God is a burden. What is even the incentive to serve Him?

But the Lord has a book of remembrance for those that fear Him. The book was written in His very presence. It also means that that is the location of the book. It is not kept in a shelf in one of the libraries in heaven. It is not with the angel in charge of records. It is written in the presence of the Lord, it is in His presence. He sees it every time. He’s not acting on it now does not mean the matter is not on His table. There may well be some matters that are not constantly in the presence of the Lord, matters for which His attention needs to be called, but on the matter of those that feared the Lord? A book of remembrance for them was opened in His very presence. And His response? ‘On the day when I act!’

The almighty says, ‘on the day when I act…’ our greatest challenge is waiting for that day. Many wont. They will give up. They will walk away, and they will miss that day. They will go away and say the Lord is not faithful. And because they were not faithful they missed the Lord’s faithfulness. They will not be available on the day when He acts. Jesus said, ‘men aught always to pray and never give up’. He then told the story of a widow who will not give up asking for vindication. He concludes with something like, ‘if this were to be you, when I finally show up to help you, will you still be there? Holding on? Majority wont. They will miss out because of impatience, and they will go out and convince others that God does not reward, and they will add their sympathizers to their ranks and they will preach it wide.

It may help to add that in God’s dictionary, impatience is; giving up before God shows up, no matter how long it takes.

Letter to the Hebrews advised, ‘be you imitators of those who through faith and patience inherit the promise’. God is not in a hurry. He is not about to prove any point. ‘On the day I act!’ which day is it? I do not know. Nobody knows. There is no standardized system available to the world for the calculation of the timing. All we know about it is that it is a day, and it is as certain as the Lord that has vowed it. Many will tell you that if you do this or that, you will get the day to be when you want it. Some others will say you have not done enough; you need to do this or that and get your result. The fallacy of that has been proven with the scars and pains of many innocents believers. The theology that reduces the word of God to ‘7 points to get a quick result’ is an uncooked gospel. The Lord has said, ‘on the day I act’. We must stop second guessing Him. Our own is to be faithful. Blessed is he whom when his Lord shall return, he would find him waiting. Keep doing that which the Lord requires of you, and be confident in His commitment that the day will come when He will act on your behalf. When the cloud is full of rain, it empties itself on the earth.

On the day that I act;

They will be my treasured possession

I will spare them just as a father spares his son that serves him.

And above all you will see the distinction between those who serve me and those who don’t. You would see that you have spoken in haste and called them blessed and looked down on yourself. You will see that when I treasure a man, I put him in the place I put Jesus. On the day I act. Wait for that day.

Shalom.

Scripture References: Malachai 3 vs 6-18,

                                   Luke 18 vs 1-8

                                   Hebrews 6 vs 12

                                   Mathew 24 vs 46

 

 

About admin

I am a christian who loves his Lord and Master Jesus Christ passionately. I am an Engineer with interest in project management. I am adaptable in a positive way. You can reach me on kunle.obiy.ike@gmail.com

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