Malachi is a great book. Very underrated, often overlooked, and God has used it to challenge some things in my life in profound ways. It’s sort of a dialogue between God and his people through his prophet, Malachi.
The book starts with one of the most controversial topics in scripture: Election. It talks about God choosing Jacob (or Israel) and rejecting Esau. While there are definitely election themes present, the point of this section is not whether some are elect or not, but rather that God loves Israel passionately.
Verses 4-5 say that even if Edom builds itself up, God will destroy it, and the people will see this and say, “The Lord is great, even beyond the borders of Israel.” The point here is that God is not only over his own people, Israel. He is over absolutely everything. He is the King, and nothing is outside of his control and influence.
To put it another way, absolutely everything moves in response to the Lord. Whether they claim to be his or not, everything moves in response to him. Everything.
When the Israelites left Egypt, finally released from slavery, Exodus 12:35-36 says, “The Israelites acted on Moses’ word and asked the Egyptians for silver and gold jewelry and for clothing. And the Lord gave the people such favor in the Egyptians’ sight that they gave them what they requested. In this way they plundered the Egyptians.”
There was no battle. There was no looting or stealing. There was God, acting on behalf of his people, turning the hearts of the Egyptians, people who had set themselves against Him, causing them to give freely to the Israelites. Israel didn’t have to do anything to coerce this. And God did not crush them in order to take it. He moved their hearts and caused them to willingly participate in their own plundering…because everything moves in response to Him.
As we send hundreds of students all over the planet each summer we, and they, face some difficult questions about the work and the harvest. It can be overwhelming to think about whether we will see people come to faith and what happens to those we meet after we leave. But understanding that everything moves in response to Him frees us. We don’t bring in the harvest. People and things do not move in response to us. But they do move in response to the one who created them and has access to their hearts. He brings in the harvest.
While we don’t have the power to change people, situations, or nations, God does. As we go this summer, and every other day or our lives, we live in this unique relationship and task where God has asked us only to sow seeds faithfully, pray with endurance, and watch him for the results. He will handle the harvest. Everything moves in response to Him.