When God Seems Far Away


Several years ago, and “out of the blue,” our work supervisors told my wife and I that they wanted us to move to Austin and wanted our decision in two weeks. Though never said, we knew if we declined that we’d need to seek other positions. Sometimes in my prayers, I screamed at God because I felt abandoned. I had a “what have you done for me lately?” attitude. Though God seemed far away, the prayers and counsel of friends helped us to remember God’s faithfulness.  

  • What do you do when God seems far away? What did the Israelites do? Malachi gives us an answer.


13 “Your words have been hard against me, says the Lord. But you say, ‘How have we spoken against you?’ 14 You have said, ‘It is vain to serve God. What is the profit of our keeping his charge or of walking as in mourning before the Lord of hosts? 15 And now we call the arrogant blessed. Evildoers not only prosper but they put God to the test and they escape.’”

16 Then those who feared the Lord spoke with one another. The Lord paid attention and heard them, and a book of remembrance was written before him of those who feared the Lord and esteemed his name. 17 “They shall be mine, says the Lord of hosts, in the day when I make up my treasured possession, and I will spare them as a man spares his son who serves him. 18 Then once more you shall see the distinction between the righteous and the wicked, between one who serves God and one who does not serve him.


(Today’s questions focus on verses 16-18.)

  1. The Israelites were doing “everything right,” but with the wrong heart attitude. What did some do instead (vs. 16)?
  2. Why do you think they compiled a “book of remembrance”? How did this act show the change in their attitude toward God?
  3. What was the Lord’s response to those who feared him and esteemed his name (vss. 16-18)?
  4. Recall a time when your efforts to live for Christ did not seem to result in success? What did you do?


The Israelites were going through the motions with God. Instead of looking within, they were angered by the prosperity of non-believers. But those “who feared the Lord” met together and talked. We don’t know what they talked about, but a book of remembrance was written. God took notice, claimed them as his treasured possession, and promised that they would be spared and would see the difference between those who served God and those who didn’t.

  • Write your own “book of remembrance,” recalling the crucial and special times of God’s faithfulness to you. Encourage others to do the same.
  • Plan to get together to share your book of remembrance with others and praise God together.