Summary: When we become passive, smug, or listless in our relationship to God, He does not take it lightly; God doesn’t just want what we DO, He wants US, heart and soul.
God’s Unrequited Love
1. We divide the OT prophets into two categories: the Pre-exhilic and the post-exhilic. The line of demarcation is 606 BC, when the Babylonian captivity began. In 586 BC, the temple was destroyed. The prophets who were active during this time or earlier are called the "pre-exhilic prophets."
2. In 536 BC, some Jews returned to the land and began rebuilding the Temple. The prophets in this era are called the "Post-exhilic prophets."
3. Who were the prophets? God’s spokespersons! 2 Kings 17:13, "The LORD warned Israel and Judah through all his prophets and seers: ’Turn from your evil ways. Observe my commands and decrees, in accordance with the entire Law that I commanded your fathers to obey and that I delivered to you through my servants the prophets.’"
4. In contemporary American culture, we view a prophet as a fortune-teller. But this is not the the Biblical use of the term. The prophets were often confronters, comforters, and instructors. They were inspired by God and frequently demanded change in the attitudes or actions of people by referring to God’s distant past workings, near past, near future, and distant future workings. So there was a predictive element to the prophets, but that was not their main thrust.
5. Malachi is the last of the prophets; the next prophet mentioned in Scripture would be over 400 years later, when Anna the prophetess blessed the baby Jesus.
6. Today’s sermon is titled, "Unrequited love."
"Unrequited love is love that is not reciprocated, even though reciprocation is usually deeply desired. The beloved may not even be aware of this person’s deep feelings for them. This can lead to feelings such as depression, low self-esteem, anxiety, and rapid mood swings between depression and euphoria. Being such a universal feeling, it has naturally been a frequent subject in popular culture." [Wikipedia]
7. We write love songs and love stories about rejection, secret love, and heart ache. And, as human beings, some of us have memories of the same. We might think of our first crush, or someone who had a crush on us -- but we had no interest in her or him.
8. Although our relationship with God is not romantic, God has a love for us that is stronger than romantic love. Yet that love goes larger unrequited.
9. Such was the case with the nation of Israel at the time. The people were indifferent toward God. They felt He was irrelevant to their daily lives and routines. Their enthusiasm had gotten old: Israel had been back in the land for nearly 100 years.
10. It was a time of spiritual decline. The Jewish people were intermarrying with gentiles who did not know the true God. The poor were oppressed and the religious leaders were unorganized and unenthused.
11. Like a stale marriage in which one partner wants to rekindle the flame, God exposes Israel’s complacent attitudes and pleads with them to rekindle a heart aflame.
Main idea: When we become passive, smug, or listless in our relationship to God, He does not take it lightly; God doesn’t just want what we DO, He wants US, heart and soul.