III. The Argument
The prophet shows concern over the spiritual condition of the nation. Even though the temple and its services were restored, there is a marked cynicism on the part of the people. Consequently they begin to doubt seriously whether or not they are really the recipients of God's love. Such disillusionment resulted in a failure to give God honor and respect. Their lessened devotion caused a withholding of tithes. They cheated on the quality of offerings that were given. This attitude was reflected in the services of the priests. Furthermore, the people violated the covenant by divorcing their wives and marrying aliens. Under such conditions judgment from God is inevitable. Repentance is mandatory. There is hope for the triumph of righteousness.