The Product of a Corrupted Priesthoo
Devotional teachings from the book of Malachi
By Henry Jaegers
For several years, I have entertained the thought of writing a sequel to the book of Daniel which I entitled "Out of Babylon". This sequel will focus on what happened after the children of Israel left Babylon. I endeavored to call this series of books, "After Babylon".
But behind all of that, there was the desire to study in greater detail, the book of Malachi. As I acquainted myself with the message of the book, I thought it to be a very practical book dealing with the problems in our present time. I discovered a book by G. Campbell Morgan called "Malachi's Message for the Men of Today." Presently I am digesting this book in order to properly prepare these devotionals I have finally decided to begin.
This has been one of the books for which I wanted to give greater attention, while I still am in good health and my mind is still intact. Although my eyesight is failing, and it takes me a long time to read, God has been good, enabling me with the desire and ability to work beyond my present disabilities to continue writing for his glory.
So, with this introduction, I will begin studying in this extremely practical book, from the Old Testament, which is most practical for the problems of our modern world. Although the messages that I have ever heard from Malachi always centered on the thought of tithing and giving (a favorite subject that preachers seem to enjoy expounding), but with this emphasis, they seem to have missed what God meant by what he said.
May God stimulate our hearts as we begin studying this wonderful book.
Perhaps, one of the reasons why this subject of "religious formalism" has such an attraction to me, is because for the first 21 years of my life, I was enslaved to it. In my early years of childhood, I grew up listening to classical music and that seemed to be the norm for that time. When I attended church, there was the pipe organ, and the opera-like choir, and as I entered into the sanctuary, it was quiet and the building was surrounded with Windows with pictures on them, reminding us of why we were there. I remember ministers chanting out the rituals, leading us to the recitation of the creeds and reading prayers to us from the prayer book that appeared to be appropriate for the moment. I must confess, I still appreciate that type of worship because now that I am a true Christian, they have an effect upon my desire to worship God in a more serious manner.
I thought, that those of the churches without the formal setting, did not understand what true worship was all about. I adopted a somewhat superior attitude toward other religions thinking that I was of a higher caliber because of the type of worship that I was used to. I still appreciate worshiping God in that way but the problem back then was that worship was confined only to the time and the place where it was happening. It never dawned upon me that true religion took place after I left the church not while I was in the building. People who knew me, called me a hypocrite, but at that time, it didn't bother me because I didn't know what the word meant.
Then one day, I met a man who was different from the people with whom I usually worshiped. There was a glow in his life that caused me to experience that that same glow was missing from my life. As he spoke to me, I felt that I was with a person who really cared about my somewhat interest in religious things. It was that encounter, that caused me to realize the emptiness in my life that “formal religion” could not satisfy.
Although the years have past, and I no longer worship in that way, I still appreciate the atmosphere that was produced that caused me to be quiet and for a moment, think seriously about God, and my desire for true worship to take place. It is my prayer, that my past experience in “religious formalism” helps others to realize there is more to true worship than that.