“You have said, it is useless to serve God; What profit is it that we have kept His ordinance, And that we have walked as mourners Before the Lord of hosts? So now we call the proud blessed, For those who do wickedness are raised up; They even tempt God and go free.” – Malachi 3:14-15
God brought His word through Malachi and was revealing the hearts and thoughts of the people. The common people noticed how the proud, the liar and cheat, and those who parade it in front of God succeed, profit, and advance while those serving God seem to struggle. So, the people began to think to themselves, “Why serve God then? There is no profit in it! These people get away with it, we can too!” They left God’s plan and looked to the world for the answers.
When Jesus was crucified and laid in the tomb, Peter felt lost. His identity as a fisherman was set-aside to follow Christ. “With Jesus dead,” Peter thought, “all I know is fishing. I guess I will go back to that life that I knew.” This is what happens when we believe Jesus is dead and everyone else is succeeding but us. We look at the world and run back to our old lives. The Bible tells us that the things of this world are temporary and to look to eternity. Jesus was not dead and revealed Himself once again, and Peter was restored. And, Jesus is not dead today…He is alive!
Back in Malachi 3:8-12, the Lord tells the people why they were not succeeding. It was because they were hoarding what God had given them. They were providing false idols their very best and giving God their very least if they gave anything to Him at all. Also, in these verses, God gives them great promise. Read them and discover what He says!
Many times as Christ followers, we see the “success” of the world and buy into it. And, we begin doing the same things that God has not called us to do, we go back to the old way of living and thinking. God said, “Return to Me, and I will return to you” (Malachi 3:7). Peter returned and was restored, we can be restored too.
“It was time for Jesus to take over the situation, just as He did when He called Peter into discipleship. He told them where to cast the net; they obeyed, and they caught 153 fish! The difference between success and failure was the width of the ship! We are never far from success when we permit Jesus to give the orders, and we are usually closer to success than we realize.” – Warren Wiersbe