|Posted by Lorraine Serra on September 9, 2010 at 11:09 AM|
Hello friends. Thank you for your patience as I finally post the closing discussion of this study. When I began in May, it was a brand new venture for me. I had no idea how long it would take, or what God would teach us. I hope it has been worth your time to read and meditate on God's word and my gleanings. Praise Him for His infinite wisdom and inspiration! I am already anxious to begin the next study.
I have appreciated your comments, your openness, your willingness to share, and it is my privilege to pray for those who ask for it. If you haven't signed in as a member, please don't be shy!! Or, at least, send me a private email so I know you've stopped by. It is with joy and a sincere passion for those who need the "Good News" of Jesus, (all of us) that I post this last entry on the Book of Malachi.
We left off in Part 10 of our discussion of this final chapter of Malachi taking note that even though this chapter begins with an abrupt warning about the coming day of fiery judgment and destruction for the wicked and the proud, it was by no means a surprise. We observed the continuity of the entire Bible with its recurring theme of hope for restoration, forgiveness and blessing to those who honor, believe and obey the Lord God, Jehovah.
Throughout their history, the Jewish nation’s story depicted in the Bible is an example to us of the benevolent mercy of God towards His chosen people. Though they broke covenant and worshiped foreign gods in seasons of weakness and pride, God still restored them after a season of consequences.
It is a fact that all of our actions reap consequences, good or bad. We, too, though forgiven, must still at times endure the serious consequences of our choices. But, we made the choice . Nevertheless, God does not abandon us, but walks with us through the consequence, strengthening, refining, and growing us through the process, just as He did with His people Israel.
So here in Chapter 4, verse 2, it is no different. The warning has been issued, followed by the beautiful promise of mercy, forgiveness and bountiful blessing: to those who reverence the name of the Lord “the Sun of Righteousness shall arise with healing in His wings”. As far-reaching, nurturing, life-giving as the rays of the sun are upon every corner of the earth, so shall be the complete healing of mind, body, soul and spirit on the final day as the humble and obedient servants of God receive their reward. And just as we might enjoy the warm embrace of the sunshine on a lovely day, a pure gift, nothing we have done to deserve it, so shall we know the free gift of peace and comfort in the Lord, because we have honored Him with our life.
Yet, as I commented in the very first part of this study back in May, the same nurturing sun is also an unapproachable blazing inferno which can burn our skin and wither our crops. The Sun of Righteousness, all goodness, all justice, all powerful, will be like a burning oven to the wicked, and those who have trampled upon the name of Jesus will be lost forever. It is such an unnecessary tragedy!
The final verses of this powerful book assure us that there is still hope! There is always hope for a good finish. That Day of Judgment is far off, and the reward you persevere towards still requires a long journey. Do not lose hope. “Remember Moses and the guidelines for living which God provided, the Ten Commandments,” says Malachi.
Now, just look at this awesome illustration of what is to come, and the benevolence of a merciful and holy God. In verse 5, God promises another prophet, Elijah, the messenger, a predecessor of the one we know as John the Baptist. We know that John came preparing the way for the Savior, the Messiah, Jesus Christ, calling people to repentance and baptizing them into a new covenant of reconciliation and fellowship with God.
Here in verse 5, God promises to send once again Elijah, the prophet who never died, but who was translated to heaven in a chariot (2 Kings 2:11 ). This great and revered prophet, Elijah will return as the final messenger who prepares the way for the second coming of King Jesus. Elijah has a super-important job to do: It is he who will turn the hearts of “fathers towards their children and the hearts of children towards their fathers."
In those final days, God will use Elijah to reveal to the Jews, represented as “the fathers” (people of the Old Covenant of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob”, the fulfillment of all prophecy in God’s Son, Jesus Christ as Messiah! The Gentiles, who have already embraced Christ as Lord and Messiah, are represented as “the children” (people of the New Covenant, the younger people of God). We will at last be one people, one body in Christ! This final offer of truth and explanation of the prophetic scriptures will be displayed for all to see and personally choose to accept or reject.
Salvation is at hand! Salvation has come to the earth. The Son of God, Jesus Christ Himself came to heal, teach and lead us on to that glorious Final Day of eternal reward: Life eternal in the place where there is a new heaven and a new earth. The life free of tears and pain, where the lion shall lie down with the lamb and all will worship around the throne of God in perfect peace and wholeness forever.
Jesus is our life, our supply, our peace. The gift is ours now, providing strength for the journey. It is foolish to wait for the final day when it is possible to experience such fullness of joy now.
Will the earth ever listen to Him, to Jesus Christ? Malachi closes the Old Testament and points us to the New, the Gospel accounts of the life of Jesus Christ, His mission, His remedy for our sin, and the founding of the Christ-following church. The discussions and debates and “new solutions” to doing life continue to arise even though these words we have studied have birthed the fruit of righteousness, peace and holiness for centuries.
Friends, at the risk of repeating myself, as far as I can see in our world cultures, certainly in America, and the continuing conflicts erupting as cultures clash, the rejection of Christ and godly living in favor of exalting self-gratification and power is spiraling out of control. The perversions of life have reached epidemic proportions, and a sense of hopelessness is escalating.
How many more cases of depression, suicide, drug and alcohol use will there need to be? Can the government health system bail everybody out of their pain? Will greed and abuse of fiduciary responsibility destroy us? Will marriage and family survive? How long will the soul seek things to dull the senses and aid an escape from fear, loneliness and brokenness?
It is heartbreaking to see youth without direction, with no sense of purpose, women broken and used, children abandoned and abused, men ill equipped to lead their families, when such pain is curable by the One who comes with "Healing in His Wings". We are so precious to Him!
This is not just metaphor. It is truth. The voice of God is speaking to us once more, loud and clear.
“Return to Me! I have shown you the path to life. Why do you reject Me, in favor of following other gods, even making yourself your own god? Did you speak all things into existence? Can you even begin to count the stars in the heavens, or know all that is in the sea? Have you been able to understand the vast workings of the brain, or the minute complexity of the eye? Do you know what tomorrow will bring to your household? Can you control whether your heart will continue to beat in the next 30 seconds? And if you should die tonight, are you certain of where you will be going?”
Some might say I’m being extreme and inflammatory, even using emotionalism to get a reaction. Well, these questions about the “mystery of Life” are emotional! They are extreme! They are huge, and it is critical that they be answered so that we might abide in peace. These are truly matters of life and death.
The instruction of Malachi and all the Bible prophets make it clear:
Down through the ages past, and into the future, there is One who is coming to judge the living and the dead, the just and the rebellious. Let's be sure to reach out to everyone and offer the "healing in His wings" to anyone who will listen, lest they become the ashes under the soles of our feet. (Malachi 4:3)
John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” Find out more about following Jesus HERE. Jesus loves you, and so do I.
Categories: MALACHI Study