My Jesus, thank You for Your sacrifice. Open my heart to You now.
Read Malachi 4:1–6
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.”
a 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.
ReflectTake a few moments to remind yourself of all that God has done in Jesus.
For centuries Israel had looked forward to a day when God would do something new – the Day of the Lord. God would come, vindicate them and destroy their enemies – Sunday’s reading shows how they felt. Around 300 years earlier Amos had warned that it might not be quite like that (Amos 5:18–20). Now Malachi has to do the same. God may love his people always and forever, but he cannot overlook continued rebellion. Evil has to be dealt with if justice is to be established. So verse 1 contains a stark warning.
By contrast the rest of this reading brings hope of healing ultimately found in Jesus, “the sun of righteousness,” who brings healing to a broken world. In preparation Elijah will restore unity and obedience – a promise that the New Testament sees fulfilled in John the Baptist (Matthew 11:1–14). Jesus has opened the way for ultimate healing, but, as our readings in Revelation earlier in the year reminded us, we still await his return when evil will be destroyed and the world restored. We live with pain and frustration but also with sure and certain hope.
This world needs hope. Make this new year a year of sharing the hope and good news of Jesus with those who don’t know Him.
I praise You, God, that You are working towards the restoration of all things. Even so come, Lord Jesus.
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