“Know, then, that I have sent this command to you, that my covenant with Levi may hold, says the LORD of hosts. My covenant with him was a covenant of life and well-being, which I gave him; this called for reverence, and he revered me and stood in awe of my name. True instruction was in his mouth, and no wrong was found on his lips. He walked with me in integrity and uprightness, and he turned many from iniquity. For the lips of the priests should guard knowledge, and people should seek instruction form his mouth, for he is the messenger of the LORD of hosts. But you have turned aside from the way; you have caused many to stumble by your instruction; you have corrupted the covenant of Levi, says the LORD of hosts, and so I make you despised and abased before all the people, inasmuch as you have not kept my ways but have shown partiality in your instruction.” Malachi 2:1-9 … “See, I am sending my messenger to prepare the way before me, and the Lord whom you seek will suddenly come to his temple. The messenger of the covenant in whom you delight – indeed, he is coming, says the LORD of hosts. But who can endure the day of his coming, and who can stand when he appears? For he is like a refiner’s fire and like the fuller’s soap; he will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver, and he will purify the descendants of Levi and refine them like gold and silver, until they present offerings to the LORD in righteousness. Then the offering of Judah and Jerusalem will be pleasing to the LORD as in the days of old and as in former years.” Malachi 3:1-4 … “For I the LORD do not change; therefore you, O children of Jacob, have not perished. Ever since the days of your ancestors you have turned aside from my statutes and have not kept them. Return to me, and I will return to you, says the LORD of hosts. But you say, ‘How shall we return?’” Malachi 3:6-7
God makes and keeps promises – covenants. We were made to enter into and be the recipients of those promises, the keepers of God’s established covenants. God persists and remains, while we fall away and break the agreements and then wonder what the heck happened? We push through and re-write the very boundaries God established to bless us. We find ourselves outside those boundaries not feeling blessed and wonder what the heck happened? God sends messenger upon messenger, opportunity upon opportunity, invitation upon invitation and we do not respond, we do not return. How shall we return? By God’s grace! By accepting God’s grace, by confession and repentance, by practicing the means of grace (reading Scripture, prayer, fasting, the Lord’s Supper, Christian conversation, and acts of mercy and service) encountering the presence of God and allowing the power of God to transform us (return us) to the divine image of love which we were created to participate in. O God, that I be prepared, that I endure the day of your coming; that I lead others to be prepared and endure that day. Not only endure the day but receive and live in your sanctifying grace always and forever. Thank you God for mercy, for truth and for Grace!