that I might know you as you are, and manifest the image of Christ in this world,
and the world to come. Amen.
For, behold, the day cometh, that shall burn as an oven; and all the proud, yea, and all that do wickedly, shall be stubble: and the day that cometh shall burn them up, saith the LORD of hosts, that it shall leave them neither root nor branch.
Ouch. Malachi may begin with a whisper of love, but it ends with a shout of judgement. Not, however, an indiscriminate one:
As discussed yesterday, what’s bad for the wicked is good for those who fear the Name of the Lord:
And ye shall tread down the wicked; for they shall be ashes under the soles of your feet in the day that I shall do [this], saith the LORD of hosts.
It does raise the question of what exactly that “Name” is that makes such a difference. Certainly it has more than a little to do with the Law and Commandments:
However, there’s more than mere obedience going on here. Just what, I’m not quite sure, as the jump from Moses to Elijah feels somewhat abrupt:
Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD:
And how does Elijah’s message
compares to Moses?
Hmm. Does that smiting equate to God’s day of judgement? If so, that would imply we need to heed Elijah to prevent (or delay) the day of the Lord, but fear God (a la Moses) to survive that day.
Then again, maybe they’re just two different ways of saying the same thing: if our hearts are right with our fathers (and vice versa) we will naturally fear the Lord properly.
To be honest, I don’t know. Maybe it doesn’t matter that much; the bottom line, after all, is still the same: fear God, honor our parents, keep the commandments, learn His Name. That’s probably as good a note to end the year on as any.
God, we come to the end of another year, and I wonder whether I’m truly any wiser and happier than I was at the beginning. To be sure, I have learned an awful lot, and am far more reconciled to myself and settled in my marriage than I was a year ago. Yet, the more I learn, the more I realize the depths of my folly, selfishness, and hypocrisy. But, perhaps that is what it means to become wiser: to know your goodness and holiness, even at the price of recognizing our lack. If so, then my prayer for 2006 is that I would become an even wiser fool, having the holy humility to fear your name, as my heart turns towards you. May it ever be, precious Lord. In the name of Jesus, and by His perfect blood and grace, I ask all these things which I do not deserve, but desperately need. Amen.
And Now, A Word From Our Sponsor
(selected — okay, selective — blessings from Malachi)
1:2 “I have loved you,” says the LORD. 1:5 You will see it with your own eyes and say, ‘Great is the LORD -even beyond the borders of Israel!’ 1:11 My name will be great among the nations, from the rising to the setting of the sun. In every place incense and pure offerings will be brought to my name, because my name will be great among the nations,” says the LORD Almighty. 1:14 “…For I am a great king,” says the LORD Almighty, “and my name is to be feared among the nations.
2:4 And you will know that I have sent you this admonition so that my covenant with Levi may continue,” says the LORD Almighty. 5 “My covenant was with him, a covenant of life and peace, and I gave them to him; this called for reverence and he revered me and stood in awe of my name. 6 True instruction was in his mouth and nothing false was found on his lips. He walked with me in peace and uprightness, and turned many from sin.” 2:10 Have we not all one Father? Did not one God create us? 2:15 Has not the LORD made them one? In flesh and spirit they are his. And why one? Because he was seeking godly offspring. So guard yourself in your spirit, and do not break faith with the wife of your youth.
3:1 “See, I will send my messenger, who will prepare the way before me. Then suddenly the Lord you are seeking will come to his temple; the messenger of the covenant, whom you desire, will come,” says the LORD Almighty. 3:3 He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver; he will purify the Levites and refine them like gold and silver. Then the LORD will have men who will bring offerings in righteousness, 4 and the offerings of Judah and Jerusalem will be acceptable to the LORD, as in days gone by, as in former years. 5 “So I will come near to you for judgment. I will be quick to testify against sorcerers, adulterers and perjurers, against those who defraud laborers of their wages, who oppress the widows and the fatherless, and deprive aliens of justice, but do not fear me,” says the LORD Almighty. 6 “I the LORD do not change. So you, O descendants of Jacob, are not destroyed.
3:10 Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the LORD Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it. 11 I will prevent pests from devouring your crops, and the vines in your fields will not cast their fruit,” says the LORD Almighty. 12 “Then all the nations will call you blessed, for yours will be a delightful land,” says the LORD Almighty.
3:16 Then those who feared the LORD talked with each other, and the LORD listened and heard. A scroll of remembrance was written in his presence concerning those who feared the LORD and honored his name. 17 “They will be mine,” says the LORD Almighty, “in the day when I make up my treasured possession. I will spare them, just as in compassion a man spares his son who serves him. 4:2 But for you who revere my name, the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its wings. And you will go out and leap like calves released from the stall.
4:5 “See, I will send you the prophet Elijah before that great and dreadful day of the LORD comes. 6 He will turn the hearts of the fathers to their children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers; or else…”