One summer I spent a month in Bolivia, living with missionaries at a fledgling Bible school. Different jobs awaited me each day. Sometimes I cooked, cleaned, or did laundry. But every day I worked on construction projects. I loved learning all of the different tasks (okay, not the laundry!). One day, a pair of missionaries from another religion came to the school to tell us about their beliefs and to challenge ours. The thought of answering their questions intimidated me. I put my head down and kept working while a friend talked with them. I remember thinking, “I’m glad I don’t have to do that job!”

The prophet Malachi also had a task most would not envy. His job was to speak to Judah about their complacency and sin. Who wouldn’t love to do that?! Judah had returned from exile, and although they were back in their homeland they had begun to separate themselves from God. They openly questioned His love for them (Malachi 1:2), only to show their own waning affection by offering sacrifices that dishonored Him (Malachi 1:6-10). They were supposed to represent God’s love to the world. Instead, they were lazy and corrupt.

Today’s passage is an unhappy one. It explains how Judah dishonored God and broke their covenant relationship with Him. But these verses contain a truth about God that offers us hope: He’s committed to being known and worshiped in every nation (Malachi 1:11).

God wants a relationship with all people: “God our Savior . . . wants everyone to be saved” (1 Timothy 2:3-4). Though we often hear of violence and war around the world, and though we’re likely to meet others who will challenge our faith, we can give our worries to God. Malachi reminds us that one day He will indeed be worshiped by every nation.

NLT 365-day reading plan passage for today: Luke 2:21-39