Do or Die!
Lord Jesus, You are the way to God, the truth about God, and the life in God. Guide me in Your ways today.
Read Malachi 4:1-6
Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. All rights reserved throughout the world. Used by permission of International Bible Society.
“Power, success, happiness, as the world knows them, are his who will fight for them hard enough: but peace, love, and joy are only from God” (Frederick Buechner).
One of the challenges faced by all the prophets was how they could speak to a mixed audience of the “righteous and the wicked” (3:18), making sure that the right message got to the right group. Many teachers find that when you tell a class that some of them are not working hard enough, those already working hard feel guilty and start to work even harder while the lazy ones think it doesn’t apply to them. But Malachi’s message really was a matter of life and death. The whole of his audience were so-called “religious people.” They all saw themselves as members of the covenant community but they needed to be very clear about the difference between those who served God and those who did not. Malachi has already indicated that the key observable difference is in their attitude, belief and behavior. Do they or do they not reflect the likeness of the Father that they all claim to have? (The ambiguity in 2:10 between their father Abraham and God as their Father is probably deliberate.) The difference in their future is now made clear: total destruction or joyful life. Those whose lives showed that they were not part of the family must change or take the consequences.
It is really encouraging to see that Malachi can’t end without making it clear that it is not all doom and gloom. Turning away from, or ignoring, God is not inevitable; for those who really do revere God’s name (by rightly representing him and by relating to him in obedience and faith), there is a lovely picture of a carefree, joyous future. The image of well-fed calves frolicking in the fields after they have been freed from the stall is delightful.
Ponder this: “Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him and he will do this” (Psa. 37:5). Then go ahead and commit everything to him, and relax and frolic!
Thank You, Lord, for the joy You bring into my life. Your presence, pardon, power, and peace lift my spirits.
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