Seeking God For Arkansas: The Malachi 3 Story

“Your words have been hard against me, says the Lord. But you say, ‘How have we spoken against you?’ You have said, ‘It is vain to serve God. What is the profit of our keeping his charge or of walking as in mourning before the Lord of hosts? And now we call the arrogant blessed. Evildoers not only prosper but they put God to the test and they escape.’”

Malachi 3:13-15

The following is the continuation of a series that began with a post titled Seeking God For Arkansas, which I highly recommend for the context it provides.

Continuing our conversation, we left off with the Isaiah 59 call for intercession. This week Malachi 3 leapt off the page as further insight into God’s heart for Arkansas. Here Malachi paints a frighteningly accurate portrayal of America’s attitude towards God, particularly in politics. I am not sure we could find a better description of the spirit of the antichrist or the attitude of those who rejected the nobleman in Luke 19:14. Psalm 2 would be another direct parallel, but I digress.

Here the people are directly opposed to the leadership of Jesus. It’s not only opposition, but far worse, the Lord has lifted his hand of correction and allowed wickedness to prosper (2 Th. 2:11). The arrogant are blessed and evildoers prosper. They call evil good and good evil (Is. 5:20). But where is the church in all of this? It’s unclear, but there appears to be a period of grace as the Lord withholds judgement to give His people the chance to respond rightly. The future rests in the church’s response. Here’s what happens…

Then those who feared the Lord spoke with one another. The Lord paid attention and heard them, and a book of remembrance was written before him of those who feared the Lord and esteemed his name. “They shall be mine, says the Lord of hosts, in the day when I make up my treasured possession, and I will spare them as a man spares his son who serves him. Then once more you shall see the distinction between the righteous and the wicked, between one who serves God and one who does not serve him."

Malachi 3:16-18

What great hope we have in our God! He pays attention as the church comes together. The actions of the church initiated a response from the heart of God. Think of this as we pray for our legislature in Arkansas. Every prayer is documented and read in the heavenly court before any decision is made. Concordantly with Isaiah 59, sometimes the problem is precisely the church’s lack of prayer. The pressure allowed by the grace period is intended to bring the church back to the call of Hosea 10:12, where our conversation began.

Sow for yourselves righteousness; reap steadfast love; break up your fallow ground, for it is the time to seek the Lord, that he may come and rain righteousness upon you.

Hosea 10:12

We are watching the story of Malachi 3 replay today in America, and Arkansas is right in the middle of it. The eyes of the Lord watch even now for the response of the church in Arkansas. I believe the Lord wants to distinguish Arkansas among the nation. Could we see a distinction between the righteous and wicked, between the churches, legislators, businesses, and regions that serves God and the ones who do not? Imagine if the entire state of Arkansas was distinguished among the states as an example of righteousness. This is how the Lord is inviting us to pray. Once again, the future rests in the response of the church.

Yet our churches’ response remains uncertain. The story is unfolding right now. I believe the Lord is beginning to give us a clear indication of His desire, but the church of Arkansas has to respond rightly by breaking up our fallow ground and seeking the Lord together. I am not speaking of something new, but something very old (Je. 6:16). We have to go backward to go forward, back to the First Commandment. 

The Holy Spirit will continue to give us clarity in the days ahead. Malachi 3 has been brought to the top of my prayer list regarding the elections and legislative session. I think this will be a central theme for 21 days of fasting in January 2019. What a privilege it is to pray together.

We say “yes, Lord.”

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