A NEW AGE DAWNS
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.
‘For God … made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ.’1
Having spoken about God’s justice, Malachi now prophesies about the day of the Lord. This refers to God’s intervention to punish the wicked and deliver the righteous, which might be an event within history.2 Malachi foretells an ultimate judgment, when evildoers will face God’s justice. He uses fire imagery again but, instead of refining, this fire destroys. For those who revere God, that day is like a glorious dawn. On ancient Near-Eastern monuments the sun is often depicted as a winged disc, like a mother bird bringing protection and well-being. The righteous will experience joy and renewal as they share in the final triumph of good over evil.
God takes no pleasure in destroying the wicked but would rather they repent before it is too late.3 He calls on them to return to the Law of Moses – the bringer of the new covenant has not yet come.4 God also promises to send the prophet Elijah to call for a renewal of the covenant community before final judgment falls. The angel announcing John the Baptist’s birth said he would have ‘the spirit and power of Elijah’5 and Jesus identified John as Elijah.6 John’s ministry was Elijah-like but he denied being Elijah,7 perhaps to avoid that being taken literally. The Old Testament ends looking forward to fulfillment of the promises it contains of God coming to end human wickedness and establish his righteous rule.
Jesus, by his death and resurrection, has defeated evil and planted the mustard seed of God’s rule. He promised to return to execute final judgment and establish God’s rule in its fullness. The dawn has come, but Christians are in the waiting room hoping for full daylight. Meanwhile we are to ‘Live as children of light’, who please God.8
‘… let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.’9 How can you do that today?
Lord Jesus Christ, you are eternal light. Shine into my heart so that my life will be filled with your light and truth.
1 2 Cor 4:6 2 Eg Isa 13; Obad 3 Ezek 33:11 4 Luke 22:20 5 Luke 1:17 6 Matt 17:11–13 7 John 1:21 8 Eph 5:8–10 9 Matt 5:16
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