The Reading: Malachi 3:16 – 4:6
“For behold the day comes …” (v.1) RSV
Over the last few weeks we have considered eight questions that the Israelites posed to God. We have also seen God’s responses. The result is that those with an honest and good heart realised the error of their ways. “Then those who feared the Lord spoke with one another; the Lord heeded and heard them …” (3:16). Thus the grace and mercy of God is revealed. Even though we may have been following God at a distance and allowing ourselves to go downhill spiritually, it is never too late. God will reason with us and try to bring us back into fellowship with him.
Do you remember his words through the prophet Isaiah? “Come now, let us reason together, says the Lord, though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow” (Isaiah 1:18). If God ever seems hard it is only because he is trying to bring us to our senses. Sometimes he has to ‘shout’. All he does stems from his indefatigable love. His desire is that we become his “special possession” (3:17), or, as another version translates it, “my jewels”.
Though I said ‘it is never too late’, I only meant that to apply to this lifetime. “For behold, the day comes, burning like an oven” (4:1). This decisive moment is doomsday for those who have hardened their heart, who have despised the Lord, and who have been “evildoers” (4:1). This is a warning. But it need not trouble any of us if we “fear his name” (4:2). This is not craven or ignorant fear. It is respect and awe. We do not want to disrespect, ignore or disobey. In no way do we take God lightly. We love and serve him with an all consuming passion!
The result will be incredible. God will bless us beyond our wildest dreams. We will “leap like calves from the stall” (4:3). His joy will well up within us. “The day” of the Lord will be “terrible” (4:5) for those who reject God’s love, but “great” (4:5) for those who respond to his love. The Lord will give us every opportunity to choose; he will send Elijah (or Malachi or some ‘prophet’) to warn us and to call us.
May I be ready for the Day, so that for many and me it may be a great day. Amen.
1 Who was to be Elijah (Malachi 4:5)?
2 How does Peter tell us to view the Day of the Lord?