In the short book of Malachi, there is a reoccurring phrase “but you ask” (along with a few of variations thereof). This turns into a Question and Answer monologue, with God voicing the people’s unspoken questions and then responding; Malachi records the whole thing. Although Malachi’s culture is vastly different from our reality, there are still lessons we can learn — if we are willing.
Q: How have you loved us?
A: Consider your ancestors Jacob and Esau. I loved Jacob and hated Esau. Do you get it now? [Malachi 1:2-3]
Q: How have we shown contempt for your name?
A: By giving me defiled offerings. [Malachi 1:6-7]
Q: How have we defiled you?
A: By giving to me what is not suitable for anyone else. [Malachi 1:7-8]
Q: Why do you no longer pay attention to our offerings or accept them?
A: You have been unfaithful to your wife and broken your marriage vows. [Malachi 2:13-14]
Q: How have we wearied you?
A: By doing bad, yet claiming it is good and pleases me. [Malachi 2:17]
Q: How are we to return to you?
A: Stop robbing me. [Malachi 3:7-8]
Q: How do we rob you?
A: By withholding some of your tithes and offerings. [Malachi 3:8-10]
Q: What have we said against you?
A: By saying it is futile to serve me when I don’t bless you for doing what is expected. [Malachi 3:13-14]