|Posted by Lorraine Serra on August 26, 2010 at 1:48 PM|
Dear faithful readers, our journey through the book of Malachi is drawing to a close. This book from the Bible, written roughly around 450 BC, is still relevant and powerful in its application to us today. It is one whose prophecy has been proven and fulfilled in the annals of secular history as well as religious history. For very soon, Jerusalem and its people will be conquered by yet another invading army. The Romans will build their empire and Jerusalem will be destroyed in 70 AD.
After such a tremendous message from God through this prophet, it is clear that the Israelites and all of us are invited to regard the Lord God Almighty with reverence, respect and holy fear. The indictments of the wicked were severe, and the promised rewards to the righteous glorious. Israel had already been chastened several times as the Egyptians, Assyrians, Babylonians and Persians each held the Jewish nation in a season of bondage and captivity. Yet, God who is forever merciful and loving restored the faithful remnant whenever they repented and returned to Him.
Now, Chapter 4 opens with a scene of ultimate coming destruction and punishment. But, before we take a look at this prophecy full of fire and an oven which will burn everything to rubble, let us review the content and theme of this entire book: Reassurance that God is full of love and justice. God’s unchanging love due to His mercy which endures forever is the backdrop for all the correction and encouragement to return to sincere worship and adherence to God’s laws.
Repeatedly, God’s voice comes through his prophet, Malachi, urging the Israelites to turn back to God and receive grace, forgiveness, and a fresh start. He promises to open up the windows of heaven in blessing to those who honor God with their tithes, offerings, mind, heart and spirit. With the Lord, there is always hope of restoration and healing. This drama of hope is the theme of the entire Bible. Sounds like something worth pursuing, doesn’t it?
Malachi swings into verse 1 in such an abrupt way: ”Behold, the day is coming, burning like an oven, and all the proud and those who do wickedly will be stubble, and the day which is coming will burn them up.” He is not mincing words! The prophecy points forward not only to the immediate suffering at the hands of Rome, but beyond that to the final Day of Judgment when Christ will reign and all will be called to account. The choice is presented: prepare for a celebration of God’s love or prepare to endure His wrath.
Without going too deep within this discussion, may I just point out the continuity of the Bible? From the wandering in the desert where the earth opened up to swallow the wicked sons of Korah and Levi, through all of the major and minor prophets, replete with apocalyptic visions in Isaiah, Daniel, Ezekiel, a very personal God has been involved with his people, instructing them to embrace obedience, purity and sincere worship within their covenant.
He has called them to humble repentance and hopeful perseverance as they marched forward to the day when their Messiah, Redeemer King will lead them to victory in the Promised Land. There was a plan from the beginning of time; and epic drama is unfolding. Come, find your role, and see how the story ends. To disregard His laws, which are full of mercy and grace, will result in dire consequences.
Now, consider for a moment these prophecies: if you drive drunk, you will lose your license and go to jail. If you trade stocks inappropriately, you will be charged with insider trading and be punished; if you are inattentive to your spouse or cheat, you may irreparably damage your relationship and destroy your family.
Now, consider these: if you excel in your studies, you will earn high marks and a scholarship; if you show compassion and concern for others, you will have many friends; when you honor your commitments and live true to your word, you will win the love and respect of everyone around you. If you hire a good accountant, you will discover how to reduce your taxes and keep more of your money.
Consequences, either good or bad, are a fact of life. They are the direct result of our attitudes and actions. Why should we expect less from a holy God Who tirelessly invites us into relationship with Him based upon His mercy and love? What can we expect in return? We will look into that in the next part of our study.
Categories: MALACHI Study