If you’re following along at home we’ve been reading one chapter of the Bible each day. So far this year you’ve read 2 John, 2 Peter, 2 Thessalonians, 2 Timothy, 3 John, Colossians, Habakkuk, Haggai, Joel, Jonah, Jude, Nahum, Obadiah, Philemon, Philippians, Romans, Ruth, Zephaniah, and today we’ll finish Malachi.
Congratulations! In just a couple of months you have read 19 books of the Bible! You’ve read 9 from the Old Testament and 10 from the New. That’s about a quarter of the Old Testament and a third of the New. What do you know now that you didn’t know before? Imagine what you’ll know tomorrow as you keep going.
We’ll finish Malachi today. Next we begin the books of the Bible that have 5 chapters. Let’s go to 1 Thessalonians. 5 chapters. 5 days. You’ll complete your 20th book of the Bible!
Malachi 4 is prophetic. It tells two stories. The first is about the end of the world as we know it. The day will come when the wicked receive their just rewards. Right now I have three friends who are learning to live with the wicked choices of people they love. Their choices are ripping their family apart. It hurts to watch them go through the pain. It’s frustrating to see justice delayed. I want God to fix it. I want to see his wrath, judgment and vengeance poured out on the ones causing the problem. As a friend, I’m a step removed from the situation, but I still have a hard time controlling the anger I feel toward those who have caused the problem. I can’t imagine how my friends are working through it.
Because of situations like these I don’t know if the first part of Malachi 4 is reassuring or terrifying. The wicked will be punished. While I’m glad for the justice it doesn’t have to be this way. The wicked could repent. The lost could be found. They could come to their senses. That’s what I hope and pray, but we know how things really work. Some will repent. Some will not. Those who don’t will one day face the justice of Malachi 4. They will eventually be nothing more than dust under the feet of God’s people. Reassuring…and terrifying.
There’s another prophecy here. This prophecy tells how people can avoid the punishment described in the first part of the chapter. It reveals how the wicked can be redeemed. Malachi points to a messenger who will preach repentance. He says, “His preaching will turn the hearts of fathers to their children, and the hearts of children to their fathers…” (Malachi 4:6)
Imagine how different our world would be if children were inspired by their fathers. What if fathers could look at their children and honestly say, “Imitate me as I imitate Christ”?
I can’t think of anything our world needs more.
Thank you for your word and how you use that word to challenge, strengthen and encourage me. Thank you for those who are reading along with me. May you bless them with your favor today. Keep the heart of my children turned toward me. Help me to be a father who inspires his kids. Give me the strength and courage to make choices that would allow me to honestly say to my kids, “Imitate me as I imitate Christ.” Let the heart of my family always be turned toward you, our Heavenly Father.
For my friends who are hurting right now because of the wicked choices of others I pray that you would give them strength and endurance. Stand with them. Remind them of your presence. Work in their favor. Frustrate the plans of the ones making wrong choices and bless the plans of the ones making right choices. Let your justice be satisfied. Grant them the gift of repentance. Give them the capacity for forgiveness. Help them come to their sense. God, fix this.
I love you, in Jesus name –