Summary: Serving God is worth it because God delights in saving those who delight in serving Him
Have you ever asked the question – Is serving God really worth it? I know that I’ve certainly done that in my life and my guess is that most of you have done that at some point in your life as well.
Maybe at work you’re the model employee. You show up on time for work every day, you are honest and hard-working and try your best to work as if working for the Lord and not just for men. And then when it comes time for the big promotion, it goes to the guy who goes out for a beer with the boss every day after work even though he comes in to work late every day, takes a long lunch and spends most of his day gossiping in the office. So you’re at least tempted to ask, “Is serving God really worth it?”
You do the very best you know how to apply Biblical principles with your finances. You give the first portion of your income to God every month. You don’t borrow money to buy things that you don’t really need. You are honest on your tax returns and pay your taxes. You carefully budget your money. And yet, it seems that you barely are able to make ends meet. And then you think of your neighbor next door who always complains that he is up to his eyeballs in debt. But he is driving a fancy new car, his family goes out to eat at expensive restaurants all the time and they take an lavish vacation every year. Aren’t you at least tempted to think, “Is it really worth it to serve God?”
Maybe you’ve been involved in just about every ministry in the church and have always served God just as faithfully as you know how. But you still can’t get pregnant or you have a miscarriage, or your child is born with serious health issues or someone in your family gets cancer. And the family next door who wants nothing at all to do with God has a perfectly healthy family. In that situation, it’s only natural to ask if serving God is really worth it.
Not surprisingly, that is a question has been asked for a long time and this morning as we conclude our year long journey through the Old Testament, that question is the one that the prophet Malachi deals with at the very end of the Old Testament.
Before we read that passage, let’s think about the journey we have taken this year. We began with Adam and Eve where we saw God’s grace and mercy demonstrated as He provided a covering for their sin and made a promise that one day a Savior would come from among their descendants, one who would “bruise the head” of Satan. God expanded upon that promise over the next several thousand years through 5 more covenants:
• In Genesis 9, God made a covenant with Noah that He would never again destroy the entire earth with a flood.
• In Genesis 12, God made a covenant with Abraham and promised to make his descendants into a great nation, give them their own land and to bless all the nations of the earth through that chosen people.
• In Exodus, God made a covenant with Moses, in which He promised to bless His people and make them His treasured possession if they would obey Him.
• In 2 Samuel 7, God makes a covenant with David in which He promises that one of his descendants will rule over Israel forever.
• Despite the failure of God’s people to live up to these covenants, we see in Jeremiah 31 that God makes a new covenant with Israel and Judah in which He promises to reunite them and to change their hearts and to forgive their sins.
But as the Jews returned to Jerusalem after their exile in Babylon, none of these promises has been fulfilled fully due primarily to the fact that God’s chosen people had continued to rebel against Him throughout their history. So one last time, God sends a prophet to speak to His people and plead with them to return to God. And when the people once again fail to heed his warnings, as they have done time after time throughout their history, God no longer speaks to His people directly for over 400 years.
Malachi, whose name means “my messenger”, comes to remind the people of God’s covenants and His love for them. But we get a pretty good idea of the mindset of the people right at the beginning of the book of Malachi. In verse 2, God says “I have loved you”, but the people immediately question that love when they respond, “How have you loved us?” In the remainder of the book, Malachi shows the people all the different ways that they have rejected God ins spite of His love for them.