The center of the book of Malachi, the last book of the Old Testament, is the healing Christ – He is the Sun of righteousness with healing in His wings (Mal. 3:1-3; 4:2).
What we see as the condition of God’s people at that time is that they were obsessed self-deceived, in the darkness of self-deception.
Today we as God’s people can be self-deceiving ourselves in many things, and unless we walk in the light as He is in the light, we walk in darkness (1 John 1:7). If we say that we do not have sin, we are deceiving ourselves, and the truth is not in us (1 John 1:8).
If we sin and we choose to lie about it, telling others we didn’t sin, this is a lie. But if we sin and we convince ourselves that we didn’t sin, this is self-delusion, self-deception, and it is an obsession.
People in the world are obsessed, and many successful people achieved great things and became famous because they pursued in their obsession (see Steve Jobs and his, reality distortion field).
But even we as believers in Christ can often fall into this danger of deceiving ourselves, thinking of something that we want so much that eventually it becomes normal to us – even when we are presented with the truth concerning that matter.
How we need the Lord’s light to shine on us, expose us, show us what we are and where we are, and heal us that we may be restored back to Christ!
The People of Israel Were Obsessed
If we read Malachi 1 and 2 we see that God is seemingly arguing or conversing with His people, but the people of Israel are self-deluded, they are obsessed and they don’t really think normally.
It is not only the people in the world that are obsessed, but even the people of God can be obsessed and self-deceived!
Here are some verses which speak of this in Malachi
- 1:2 I have loved you, says Jehovah; but you say, How have You loved us? Was not Esau Jacob’s brother, declares Jehovah? Yet I loved Jacob;
- 1:6 A son honors his father, and a servant his lord. Therefore if I am a Father, where is My honor? And if I am the Lord, where is My fear? says Jehovah of hosts to you, O priests who despise My name. But you say, How have we despised Your name?
- 1:7 You offer defiled food upon My altar. And you say, How have we defiled You? In that you say, The table of Jehovah is despicable.
- 2:13-14 And this second thing you do: You cover the altar of Jehovah with tears, with weeping and sighing, so that He no longer regards the sacrifice or receives it with pleasure from your hand. Yet you say, For what reason? Because Jehovah has been the witness between you and the wife of your youth, to whom you have been treacherous; yet she is your companion and your wife of covenant.
- 2:17 You have wearied Jehovah with your words; but you say, How have we wearied Him? By saying, Everyone who does evil is good in the sight of Jehovah, and He delights in them; or, Where is the God of justice?
- 3:7 From the days of your fathers you have turned aside from My statutes and have not kept them. Return to Me, and I will return to you, says Jehovah of hosts. but you say, How shall we return?
- 3:8 Will a man rob God? Yet you have robbed Me. But you say, How have we robbed You? In tithes and offerings.
- 3:13-15 Your words have been strongly against Me, says Jehovah; but you say, What have we spoken against You? You say, It is vain to serve God; and what profit is it that we have kept His charge and have walked mournfully before Jehovah of hosts? And now we call the arrogant blessed; not only have those who act wickedly been built up, but they also try God and escape.
In these verses we don’t see “two different points of view”, but we see that the people of Israel was deceiving himself and God was trying to ask them,
Don’t you see this? You rob Me. I love you. You weary Me with your words. You deny Me. Yet I love you and I want you all to return!
Seeing What Obsession Really Is
We need to see what obsession really is, and for this we need not just man’s word but God’s light to shine on us. Brother Watchman Nee had a message entitled, Obsession and Light (also known as, Spiritual Reality and Obsession), where he exposed the matter of obsession in a very incisive and piercing way.
Those who deceive others, they lie, while those who deceive themselves are obsessed.
To be obsessed is to do the wrong thing and believe in your heart that it’s the right thing! Being proud, stubborn, subjective, and confident to the point that even your conscience seems to justify your act is obsession!
An obsessed person believes falsehood to be truth and strongly upholds his falsehood to be the absolute truth!
Obsession starts with imagination, with some subjective thoughts, with some strange belief from the unrenewed mind – and you think about these things, you muse over them, until you get to the point where you think something long enough that you believe it has become real!
It’s all in your mind, it’s all falsehood, yet you totally deluded and deceived yourself.
You can go so far that you are convinced of a certain thing in the face of a proof to the contrary! The facts are there staring at you, and everyone believes the facts, yet you don’t believe them – you believe your imagination!
Being Obsessed Is a Matter of the Heart
Our heart is very deceiving – not only is our heart very easily attached to a lot of things or people coming along (so that soon after it would abandon them and even hate them), but our heart is deceiving and totally untrustworthy.
It is easy to be obsessed not only with a person or a thing, but even with a sin – it is doing the wrong thing yet saying in the heart that it is the right thing.
The clear symptom of obsession is thinking and believing that a wrong thing is right to the point that no one cannot say that it is wrong.
Unless we have the Lord’s light shining on us, we deceive ourselves, we don’t know what’s going on, and we are clueless about how deceived and obsessed we are!
Oh, may Your living light, Lord, scatter all our night! We hardly know ourselves – deceived so much by pride! Lord, we often think we’re right and we are so self-satisfied! But, Lord, shine on us! Expose us! Bring us fully in the light!
We Need to be Healed and Saved from Obsession
We don’t have only one obsession, and we are not cured of our obsessions overnight. Don’t think that this cannot happen to you and I. The spirit of deception and delusion is rampant.
Believe it or not, there are Christians who strongly believe that gay marriage is approved by God, and they have verses in the Bible to prove this.
There are people who believe that living together with your partner before marriage is proper, and they have even some Scriptural basis for this.
There are Christians that believe the wrong things, being deceived and deluded, and unless the Lord shines on them, they will continue in this.
We need to be healed and saved from obsession and self-deception. The self can lead us, in the trend of today’s world and led by the spirit operating in the world today, to believe a totally wrong thing – with a Bible proof for it!
What can heal us is just Christ as the Sun of righteousness shining on us with healing in His wings, exposing us and healing us daily.
Also, we need to stay in the fellowship with other believers in the church life, so that our obsessions may be exposed and we would be adjusted, tempered, healed, and fully restored!
Lord, do not allow us to remain in our self-deceit or in any obsession. Have mercy on us, Lord, and keep speaking to us. We open to You. Shine on us. Remove any grey area around us or in us. Remove all the darkness. Bring us fully in the light. Heal us, Lord, as the Sun of Righteousness.
References and Further Reading
- Sharing inspired from brother Minoru Chen’s sharing in this message, and portions from, The Collected Works of Watchman Nee, vol. 36 (pp. 257-271), as quoted in the Holy Word for Morning Revival on, Crystallization-Study of the Minor Prophets, week 11 (entitled, Experiencing the Healing Christ in Malachi for the Lord’s Second Coming and the Consummation of the Age).
- Buy this morning revival book online via Living Stream Ministry.
- Hymns on this topic:
# Remove my covering, Lord, / That I may see Thy light, / And be deceived no more, / But all things see aright.
# Lord, to know Thee as our Person, / Earnestly we seek and pray; / To experience Thy fulness / In a constant inner way. / Never longer only outward / Or with soulish thoughts obsessed, / But, O Lord, in realest contact / We by Thee would be possessed.
# Thou art the Sun of righteousness / With healing in Thy wings; / The shining of Thy glorious face / To us Thy riches brings.
- Picture credit: a dark alley in Oxford, England (instagr.am-ed by me here).
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