A Love that Makes Us Leap

A few weeks ago at a prayer meeting, a woman recommended that all of us read the book of Malachi. “It is a very short book!” she added, likely noting all the faces of surprise at the exhortation to read a whole book. Last week, I finally sat down and read it. While I've read it before, this time God allowed the words to hit my heart differently.

It packs a punch for a little book! I love that it is the bridge between the Old and New Testaments. Malachi was given prophetic insight from the Lord about the Messiah. It says “Behold, I am going to send My messenger, and he will clear the way before Me. And the Lord, whom you seek, will suddenly come to His temple; and the messenger of the covenant, in whom you delight, behold, He is coming," says the LORD of hosts” (Malachi 3:1).

I like that Malachi used the word delight there, because it is the concept of delight that drew me to this week’s verse. In the original Hebrew the word is ḥāp̄ēṣ which is also used in 1 Chronicles 28:9 when Kind David gives this advice to his son. “And you, my son Solomon, acknowledge the God of your father, and serve him with wholehearted devotion and with a willing mind, for the LORD searches every heart and understands every desire and every thought. If you seek him, he will be found by you; but if you forsake him, he will reject you forever.” That phrase “with a willing mind” is this same word ḥāp̄ēṣ.

God wants us to have a willing mind and to desire Him most. This is why Malachi 4:2 is such a perfect memory verse to understand what delighting in God is like. Have you ever seen a calf come out from the stall during springtime? In some areas of the world, people will gather together to watch them go out because it’s so fun to see their reaction to their new freedom.

A calf released from the stall is so giddy it doesn’t even know what to do with itself. What God is trying to help us understand with this metaphor is that this level of joy can only come from Him. This is why it fits so perfectly in my mind that Malachi is the last book of the Old Testament. God’s love for us caused him to give His only Son to die because He wanted to save us out of our brokenness.

How often do we forget this truth! But God knew we would forget, so He had Malachi write a final love letter in the Old Testament to remind God’s people of this truth: we must return to our first love. Once we experience true joy from that kind of love, even the best loves are shadows of it. I know to some reading this that might seem like a stretch because maybe our marriages are so incredible that God’s love can’t be better than that? Or maybe some might think well a mother’s love for her children must be better than that?

But the Bible will tell us this truth: “Greater love has no one than this: that he would lay down his life for his friends.” (John 15:13)  This is exactly what Jesus did for us. I’m not sure about you, but that truth makes me feel a little giddy.

If you’re joining along with us in this week’s memory verse, happy memorizing!

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