FROLIC LIKE CALVES
Heavenly Father, your mercies are new every morning, your faithfulness never lets me down. A song of praise to you rises in my heart.
Read MALACHI 4
Judgment and Covenant Renewal
4 [a]“Surely the day is coming; it will burn like a furnace. All the arrogant and every evildoer will be stubble, and the day that is coming will set them on fire,” says the Lord Almighty. “Not a root or a branch will be left to them. 2 But for you who revere my name, the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its rays. And you will go out and frolic like well-fed calves. 3 Then you will trample on the wicked; they will be ashes under the soles of your feet on the day when I act,” says the Lord Almighty.
4 “Remember the law of my servant Moses, the decrees and laws I gave him at Horeb for all Israel.
5 “See, I will send the prophet Elijah to you before that great and dreadful day of the Lord comes. 6 He will turn the hearts of the parents to their children, and the hearts of the children to their parents; or else I will come and strike the land with total destruction.”
- Malachi 4:1 In Hebrew texts 4:1-6 is numbered 3:19-24.
New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectWhat does freedom mean for you?
‘I would skip down the beach and just go dancing.’ So spoke a friend living with muscular dystrophy who dreams of swapping a day with an able-bodied friend.* Her words reflect the joyful abandonment of calves described by Malachi – a metaphor for our response to God’s saving grace (v 2). Freedom from the confines of our limitations, whether physical, emotional, or spiritual, is an eternal promise for those who honor God, and a promise that brings healing, restoration, global justice and personal salvation (vs 2,3). This is serious business, yet in this freedom our response will be to celebrate beyond our wildest imagination.
These challenging last verses speak of divine judgment and divine restoration (vs 5,6). All of Malachi has built to this point: God will not tolerate the rebellious nature of Israel. He has called them to remember his covenantal and unchanging love, yet many remain arrogant, self-centered and self-important, rejecting God’s call for justice. On the final day of judgment, God will confront this rebellion, as declared in the final words of Malachi, with ‘total destruction’.
Each year, as we sing ‘Hark! The Herald Angels Sing’, Malachi’s words ring out across the land, hail ‘the sun of righteousness’ (v 2). Jesus is the final promise of divine restoration. Justice will prevail, but God’s mercy will bring salvation for those who commit to follow him.
Compare the last words of Malachi (v 4:6) with the concluding words of the New Testament (Revelation 22:21). In what ways does that comparison give reason for you to rejoice?
Lord Jesus Christ, you are eternal light. Shine into my heart so that my life will be filled with your light and truth.
*‘Walks like a Duck: Episode One – The Stairlift’, BBC Radio 4, 6 July 2020
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