Zechariah makes it clear that God’s actions towards people are always motivated out of His deep love for us. That great love is clearly expressed on Calvary. But, like Israel, we often doubt God’s love and question His good intentions towards us. This is the first thing that the prophet Malachi addresses. He says in the first verse, “I have loved you,” says the LORD. But you say, “How have you loved us?”

A whole world of emotions are wrapped up in this question. It’s more of a bitter complaint against God than an actual question. At the time Malachi wrote, the people were complacent and steeped in ritual and routine in their worship for God. They were satisfied with a surface relationship with Him based on the performance of actions which then freed them to live their lives any way they wished. They thought they were doing very well, but God was not blessing them the way He should. God owed them! He had not prospered them as He had promised. They remained a weak nation and the work was hard tilling hard ground and scraping out a living from an unforgiving land. If God really loved them things would be different! It’s often easy for us to feel like that too.

Charlotte Elliott was a bitter woman. He health was broken and she became hardened to God. “If God loved me,” she muttered, “he would not have treated me this way.” A minister once told her that if she ever got tired of herself, of her sour, bitter and resentful spirit, to let him know. She later explained she could not come to Christ because of this ugliness in her. “How can I do that?” She asked. The minster encouraged her to bring all of it to God. Don’t try to hide it or deny it or suppress it. Just bring it, just as it is. She did and eventually experienced the peace of God. She wrote the poem which became the hymn “Just as I am.” He will accept us just as we are. Thankfully, He won’t leave us the way are.

Just as I am, without one plea,
But that Thy blood was shed for me,
And that Thou bidd’st me come to Thee,
O Lamb of God, I come! I come!

“…The one who comes to me, I will in no way cast out.” John 6:17