Summary: A continuation of the series on Malachi
“So You Think God Is Unfair?”
According to Ann Landers, the average teenager uses the phrase “it’s not fair”, 86 times a day. This week I did web search for this simple phrase: “when life is not fair.” The search yielded a staggering 97.2 million results. In one of these results I ran across this journal entry posted on a blog that expresses the sentiments of the desperation in our search for fairness apart from God. “Life is not fair. Good people have to die early. There are people that waste money like water, and there are other people who struggle to pay for their parents hospital bills. There are people that spend thousands of dollars on a vacation, and there are other people working three jobs to make ends meet. The funny part is people that spent thousands of dollars on vacation wouldn’t pay for their children’s tuition, and people that working three jobs wants to pay for their children’s tuition. How sad…Life is not fair. And it never will be. What’s the point of life anyway? See the injustice and then you die, painfully.” Apparently many people have the same feelings that Israel expressed in Malachi’s day. I think if we are really honest we will discover that there have been those moments when we were hurt or disappointed and we just shook our fist and cried out that life just is not fair. Some times it just feels like the whole world has turned their back on you and treated you unfairly; and that includes God. The people of Israel definitely felt that way too. Today we are going to continue to seek to gain insight into the many struggles of life through the message of the prophet Malachi. God will ultimately establish justice for his people, and no one will be able to say God has been unfair.
I. Much like today the people of Malachi’s day cried out against God saying, “Life is just not fair.”
A. Skepticism wearies God. “You have wearied Yahweh with your words.”
1. The people felt that He did not care about the behavior of everyone who did evil.
2. The people were convinced that God was either unjust or negligent.
3. Here is the age-old complaint: the wicked prosper while the righteous are in low estate.
4. The underlying assumption here is that prosperity always results from divine blessing and implies divine approval. God must “delight” in the wicked else they would not be so blessed.
5. The words “where is the God of judgment” are not a second complaint, but the logical conclusion which the people had reached.
6. Either evil is pleasing to God or there is no God of justice.
B. Throughout the ages skeptics have echoed the same sentiments against the God who has revealed himself as absolutely just.
1. More often than not this is a result of faulty perspective.
2. Our misunderstanding is why we accuse God of not being fair, we find fault with God because our thinking is wrong.
3. Refusing to acknowledge their own sin the people made the inference that God was not with His people.
4. If God were here, then surely He would do something. If God won’t establish justice; if He won’t be fair, then God must not really care.
C. The prevailing attitude of their day is much like ours. Truth is relative; we can all decide for ourselves what is right and wrong because God must see evil as good.
1. In a culture where the truth is being watered down and sin is being justified and accepted, some had the nerve to question God’s character. Sound familiar?
2. The people of Malachi’s day were practicing evil as if it were acceptable; they accepted injustice believing God was indifferent and didn’t care.
3. Revealing a very hypocritical attitude the people are challenging God to intervene.
4. We have allowed our cultural views to establish the rules for fairness and many times we accuse God of breaking those laws.
5. If God was governed by our "laws of fairness," then Jesus could not have died on the cross for our sin. The "law of fairness" would mandate that an innocent man could never be put to death; it wouldn’t be fair to unjustly punish someone who had committed no crime.
6. When we overcome our own spiritual blindness and see our own sin we will stop calling for justice and humbly ask God for mercy.
II. God promises that one day justice will be served, wrong will be punished and right will be rewarded.
A. The God of judgment was nearer than any of the skeptics imagined. Malachi stressed that the coming of God would be both certain and sudden.
1. The God of judgment, who the skeptics were seeking, was going to come suddenly and unexpectedly.