When You Are Bitter And Want Answers

“I have loved you,” says the Lord. But you say, “How have you loved us?” —  Malachi 1:2

Right here, I would like to comment on the structure of this little four-chapter book. It's pretty interesting. This text represents the first of six questions that are really accusations by followers. Accusations by Israel which God is going to respond to. In short, this book is a divine message sent to correct all the incorrect assumptions and accusations made by hopeless and bitter believers. So if you feel a little bitter about everything happening in the world, and maybe in your life, there is a message for you in this book.

But to understand this, we must recall where we are in history. Israel was delivered into Babylonian exile and now has returned, yet they are still under the control of Babylon. The Temple has been rebuilt. But the nation is in disrepair. Their economy is collapsing, and poverty is on the rise. There is chaos in the streets. Their political structures are not working. Morality and moral is in decline to the point spiritual leaders have become corrupt. In addition to all this, enemy nations, like Babylon, seem to be thriving and doing well, which raises thoughts of injustice, and thus they feel hurt and have become very bitter. They are so bitter at this point that spiritual leaders are giving up hope and pronouncing God a failure because he has brought them back but has not made them prosper. So followers have these six accusations that come in the form of questions scattered across the first three chapters. They are:

  1. "How have you loved us?" — Malachi 1:2
  2. "How have we despised your name?" — Malachi 1:6
  3. "Why does he not?" — Malachi 2:14
  4. "How have we wearied him?" — Malachi 2:17
  5. "How shall we return?" — Malachi 3:7
  6. "How have we spoken against you?" — Malachi 3:13

If I were to personalize these questions into everyday language, we might read them like this:

  1. How is my present despair a show of love by a loving God?
  2. When have I ever brought shame to the name of God?
  3. Why won't you listen to my prayers?
  4. What evidence do you have against me that is wearing you out?
  5. Why have you made it impossible for me to return to you?
  6. When have I ever said a bad word about you?

These are serious questions of God and some strong accusations by God's people. But I know this. On the other side of the devotional, some followers feel just like this — believers who right now have at least one of these questions for God in their present situation. And there are two things I want to say to this person. First, you are not the first person who has ever felt this way. Hundreds of thousands of followers living in the 5th century B.C. felt the same way. So you might need to hear that you are not alone. Second, you need to know that God will give them, and you, excellent answers for each of these questions in the coming weeks. So stay with us to hear these divine answers.

ASK THIS: Are you asking any of the questions above today?

DO THIS: Bring it to God. He always has an answer.

PRAY THIS: God, I am going to trust you again today. I don't have the answers, but I believe you do.

PLAY THIS: Trust In You.

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Read through the Bible daily with Vince Miller.

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5 thoughts on “When You Are Bitter And Want Answers

  1. David Josker says:

    God, I am going to trust you again today and everyday going forward. I don’t have the answers, but I believe in you.

  2. Peggy Duty says:

    Is it ok to be mad at God? Sometimes it feels like he isn’t listening to my prayers. I know the reply is “in his time”. It’s all in his timing and his plan.

    • Trent says:

      Bear with me.. I have had this question/issue also and been shown some things recently.. Mad? Frustrated? Questioning? All sort of unbelief or lack of faith it would seem. But if you look at the all-stars of the bible (Jeremiah 12, Jeremiah 20, Exodus 32:11-14, Genesis 18:16-33, Genesis 15, Numbers 11:10-15, 2nd Samual 6:1-8, Jonah 3:10, Jonah 4:1-4, Mathew 11:1-3, Mathew 16:21-22) they had these feelings or emotions towards God and they moved past it to do great things. God already knows how you feel so you may as well discuss it with Him so it can be addressed and fixed. We have a personal relationship with God. I think we can come to Him with ALL of our issues, even “anger” with Him. I personally believe it is very important to remember who you are talking to and all that He is, but to let Him know your troubles….. well I think that is OK. Hopefully Vince or others will chime in, but I wanted to share my experience in the matter. Hope that is OK and maybe helps who ever may be wrestling with these questions and feelings.

    • Wayne says:

      Perhaps when we have eyes to see as Isaiah did in Isaiah 6 and see the true Holiness of God we might instead ask if its ok for God to be angry at us. Job, in the worldly sense would claim he had a right to be angry until God questioned Job about His (God’s) soveriegnty and Job confessed his skewed view. Job then saw God in His rightful place. “I have heard of you by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees you; therefore I despise myself and repent in dust and ashes” Job 42:5-6

      God is a Holy and sovereign God. His ways are right and just, not ours. Dan 4:37
      The proper view of God and the proper view of ourselves in His Kingdom.