Morning
January 19

Genesis 19:12-14 (NIV) 12The two men said to Lot, "Do you have anyone else here–sons-in-law, sons or daughters, or anyone else in the city who belongs to you? Get them out of here, 13because we are going to destroy this place. The outcry to the LORD against its people is so great that he has sent us to destroy it." 14So Lot went out and spoke to his sons-in-law, who were pledged to marry his daughters. He said, "Hurry and get out of this place, because the LORD is about to destroy the city!" But his sons-in-law thought he was joking.


Angels had come to deliver Lot from the city of Sodom before it was destroyed. The angels were willing to deliver all those related to Lot. I wonder if the outcry to the LORD against its people was from the citizens of Sodom. Man is so obtuse that he can complain to God about the consequences of his own actions and those of others doing the same things. Sin has a way of torturing those it has mastered. The people refused to be freed from the sin by forsaking it. To stop the misery that sin caused, the people had to have their lives cut short.

Lot warned his sons-in-law of the impending doom, but they seemed to think he was joking. Why wouldn't they take him seriously? Was it because Lot's life was so compromised that they couldn't imagine he would be the special recipient of an angelic mercy mission? After all, he sat in the gate as an official of Sodom, and he probably joked around with the best of them. He probably fit right in since he had become a judge. I believe his compromised life caused his message to sound like a joke.

There is a no less serious judgment coming on all the earth (2 Peter 3:7). We have been given a message and a chance to go out and warn others too. When they see our lives, do they consider our message a joke? Or do our lives add credence to our message? The way we live will add power to, or detract from, the message. Let us live in such a way as to add conviction to the words we speak so that others may be spared from the impending wrath of God.

Consider: Does my life backup the message?


Evening
January 19

Malachi 2:13-15 (NIV) 13Another thing you do: You flood the LORD's altar with tears. You weep and wail because he no longer pays attention to your offerings or accepts them with pleasure from your hands. 14You ask, "Why?" It is because the LORD is acting as the witness between you and the wife of your youth, because you have broken faith with her, though she is your partner, the wife of your marriage covenant. 15Has not [the LORD] made them one? In flesh and spirit they are his. And why one? Because he was seeking godly offspring. So guard yourself in your spirit, and do not break faith with the wife of your youth.


Malachi means 'my messenger'. The Temple had been reconstructed. The people of Israel were sliding back into some of their old patterns. They could never be the people God intended them to be without a miraculous heart change. The LORD pointed out some of their specific sins in Q and A style. He asked the question that was on their heart. Why doesn't the LORD accept our offerings? How did they know He did not accept them? They knew because their crops were not blessed. Other people ruled over them. The blessing of God was not upon them, and they knew it.

Are you being blessed? Why not? Is it divorce? Men covenanted with the wife of their youth in marriage. God never takes lightly the breaking of a covenant. The two are made one. They are no longer individually His, but corporately His. He asks again, "Why one?" God is seeking godly offspring. Divorce is so devastating to children. It gives the enemy of their soul a foothold for bitterness and self- loathing. It spiritually handicaps the children. Of course God can help them work through it if they seek Him. The point is, for our convenience, we take the easy way out and injure others. The wife in that culture was then left without a means of support and was rarely remarried.

Consider: Guard your spirit. Remember the covenant you made with your wife and with God.