When he was a high-school junior in Phoenix, Arizona, Jacob Staudenmeier created an elaborate “prom-posal,” Staudenmeier decided to remake the opening scene of the movie La La Land in order to ask the film’s star, Emma Stone, to go to prom with him. (Despite his efforts, Stone declined graciously.)
The trend of “prom-posals” has led to high-school students going to extravagant lengths to get a date to prom—to prove, as it were, the depths of their affection. In the opening verses of the book of Malachi, Israel seems unimpressed with God’s demonstration of His love: “How have you loved us?” (v. 2). God, it seems, has not proved His affection beyond reasonable doubt.
Note that Malachi is the chronological as well as canonical caboose of the Minor Prophets. For centuries, God’s people have witnessed His relenting love. They had persisted in sin, but He had not persisted in wrath. Instead, He had restrained His judgment, brought His people home from exile, and poured out His Spirit to help them rebuild the temple and their lives. Who had really failed to uphold the binding obligations of the covenant?
I am your Father, God says, going far back into the annals of time—before King David, before Moses, until the birth of Jacob and Rebekah’s twin boys, Jacob and Esau—to prove it (v. 6). I chose to set my affection on Jacob rather than Esau, God said (v. 2). Would they not honor Him? I am your Master. They were given laws to follow, including prescriptions for the sacrifices to offer on His altar (v. 8). Would they not obey and fear Him? I am your King, who accepts nothing less than your irreproachable honesty and absolute loyalty (v. 14). Would they profane His name?
These questions challenge each of us to examine our hearts and lives in light of who God is and what He has done for us. Will we honor, obey, and love Him? If, like Israel, you have forgotten God’s great demonstrations of love in your life, take time this weekend to reflect and take notes to remind you. Thank Him for being your Father, Master, and King.