I returned this week from four days in Timna in the desert, as part of a youth conference. It was a blessing and a joy to be a part of that gathering, especially in the desert (despite the sand getting into every thing).
The camp took place a few days before Passover, which we will celebrate tomorrow night. We considered different lessons that can be learned from the Passover story, along with lessons from the book of Malachi. I hope and pray that God gave the youth who attended the conference a hunger for His Word as they learned of His unending love and grace. The book of Malachi is so so rich, and I feel we barely touched the tip of the iceberg as we studied it. A few days earlier, I finished a study of the book of Judges along with other women in a women’s Bible Study group. There were similar lessons to be learned from Malachi and Judges that are applicable to our days, inasmuch we as humans didn’t really change that much since that time because of our sinful nature.
I personally learned many things from the study (which we began in August 2014). From Caleb and his daughter, Aksah, I learned to have courage to ask for what I was promised (Judges 1), from the nation of Israel as they entered the land – that when God promises and commands “take it”, he will do so. I just need to go ahead and claim what he promised without fear or doubt (Judges 1). From Ehud – to rise up for the name of God and acknowledging when God gives opportunities to act (Judges 3). From Jephtah – to know my history and the truth of God’s Word, so I may stand up to those who bring false accounts and to rely on His promises and not make haste in decisions (Judges 10 and 20-21 with the war against the tribe of Benjamin). From Samson – to adhere to God’s calling, guard my eyes and not mingle with people who seek to pull me astray from my walk with God (Judges 13-16). From the story of Micah – to stand up for the truth and not compromise and mix the worship of God with the worship of false gods (Judges 17-18). From the war between the tribes – seek the whole truth and nothing but the truth when proving a brother, and seeking God’s will in how to act, so decisions will not be made hastily that will lead to regret later (Judges 19-21). There are so many more lessons to be learned, and what I shared are only a few of them.
The nation in Malachi’s time was far from God. The priests were corrupt, the Levi’s had to work because they were not given their portion as was required by the Law. The worship of God became defiled. Just as in the time of the Judges, when the phrase that was repeated was – “ In those days Israel had no king; everyone did as they saw fit” (Judges 21:25), so it was in the days described in the book of Malachi. Yet, God tried to woo His nation back with words of love, time and time again. The nation, then and today act in the same manner. At one point God asks in Malachi “A son honors his father, and a slave his master. If I am a father, where is the honor due me? If I am a master, where is the respect due me?” says the Lord Almighty” (Malachi 1:6). Sadly, our nation acts with disbelief and with contempt, as if there still is no king in Israel. Each acts as his own king.
It can be easy to complain and say that no one rises up to do anything about the condition of our society. Yet, throughout the Bible, God raised up Judges and Prophets to speak to and lead the nation. Instead of looking around and being frustrated that not much has changed, why not ask as Isaiah asked: “Here I am. Send me!” (Isaiah 6:8). Let us take a stand for truth and pray and intercede for our nations, our countries and our fellow brethren. If we don’t like how some behave, let’s take a stand and pray for them, while first asking God’s lead to show us what will please Him and then go and do it.
As believers, we have been adopted as God’s children of the most-High God and are joint heirs with Messiah Yeshua in all that the Father has prepared. Along with that comes both responsibilities and obligations. We have a King and cannot and should not act as though we don’t. We are not our own and must act as God wills, not as we will, like the nation of Israel did in the times of the Judges and Malachi. As priests, we have a responsibility to be pure and holy and must take heed lest we defile God’s word.
So, we can all ask ourselves not only “Which king do I believe in?”, but also “Which king do we serve?”
© Hannah Kramer