Weekly Word from Bro. David
February 9, 2017
From The Pastor's Heart:
As we look once again at chapter four of the book of Malachi, we are coming to the conclusion of our series through the OT book. We have seen the people of God going through the motions of serving God, of worshiping God and being Gods people. But we've also seen that we, the church of today, have a tendency to do the very same thing. I pray that this series has challenged us to lay aside apathy, complacency, and hypocrisy for genuine and faithful service to Jesus Christ.
In the last chapter of Malachi we are reminded of a prominent OT theme: The Day of the Lord. Throughout the OT, God has promised that there is coming a day of judgment that will make all things right. He will reward the righteous, judge the wicked, and straighten everything out. Malachi reminds us that this is a soon and coming day.
1 "For behold, the day is coming, Burning like an oven, And all the proud, yes, all who do wickedly will be stubble. And the day which is coming shall burn them up," Says the Lord of hosts, "That will leave them neither root nor branch.
2 But to you who fear My name The Sun of Righteousness shall arise With healing in His wings; And you shall go out And grow fat like stall-fed calves.
3 You shall trample the wicked, For they shall be ashes under the soles of your feet On the day that I do this," Says the Lord of hosts.
4 "Remember the Law of Moses, My servant, Which I commanded him in Horeb for all Israel, With the statutes and judgments.
5 Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet Before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord.
6 And he will turn The hearts of the fathers to the children, And the hearts of the children to their fathers, Lest I come and strike the earth with a curse."
Sometimes it's hard for us to believe that judgment is coming. Because it hasn't happened yet, we tend to think it really won't happen. But throughout the Bible, OT and NT, God's judgment is promised. And it is clear that this coming day of the Lord will be a day of punishment for the wicked and a day of reward for the righteous. Malachi reveals several facts about this soon and coming day.
Last time together we saw the first fact of his coming as we explored through Malachi the truth of His coming! Today we will see the second fact of His coming or the triumph of His coming found in Malachi 4:2-3.
The coming day will not only remove the wicked; it will also heal the righteous. Having figuratively described the end of the wicked by means of a sequence of destructive events, Malachi unfolds a series of events by which the righteous will be rewarded.
First of all we see a day of joy. This verse is one of the most beautiful descriptions of the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ. It proclaims that the coming day of the Lord will be a day of joy for those who know Jesus Christ as Lord. 2 But to you who fear My name The Sun of Righteousness shall arise With healing in His wings; And you shall go out And grow fat like stall-fed calves.
This metaphor, the Sun of Righteousness shall arise With healing in His wings, pictures the divine bearer of justice appearing like the dawn to those “living in the land of the shadow of death” Isaiah said in Isa 9:2; “The people who walked in darkness Have seen a great light; Those who dwelt in the land of the shadow of death, Upon them a light has shined.”
Matthew said in Matt 4:16 “The people who sat in darkness have seen a great light, And upon those who sat in the region and shadow of death Light has dawned”, to vindicate his “treasured possession.”
In the ancient Near East it was common to depict the sun's rays as the wings of a bird as in Psalm 139:9-10 where the Psalmist said, “If I take the wings of the morning, And dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea. Even there Your hand shall lead me, And Your right hand shall old me.” And the connection with healing comes from the imagery of a bird's protective wings Deut 32:11 tells us, “As an eagle stirs up its nest, Hovers over its young. Spreading out its wings, taking them up. Carrying them on its wings.” The healing announced here will be complete: physical, spiritual, and emotional.
The results of the healing work of the “sun of righteousness” on behalf of those who fear the Lord are profound. They will “go out leaping like calves from the stall.” It would be hard to find a more vivid image of the excitement that will be felt by those who have just been delivered completely and forever from the darkness, pain, and grief of a world cursed by sin.
Next we see righteous will be rewarded a day of judgment in verse 3, “You shall trample the wicked, For they shall be ashes under the soles of your feet On the day that I do this," Says the Lord of hosts.”
We see the second result of the “sun's” healing work will follow from the first. In the course of their “leaping” about, those who fear the Lord will be “trampling” on the ashes of the wicked who were “set ablaze” on the day of burning. God promises His people, “And you shall tread down the wicked, for they will be ashes under the soles of your feet.”
Sinners will be burned up the way fire eats up the stubble; they will become like ashes under the feet of the saints! But the true believers will see the dawning of a new day as the “Sun of righteousness” rises. Then Jesus will reign as King of Kings and His people will frolic like calves let out of their stalls!
This is the final separation of which we read in Psalm 1. “For the Lord knows the way of the righteous, but the way of the ungodly shall perish.” The Day of the Lord will be a day of joy or a day of judgment.
In Moses' day there were fundamentally two ways to live; under the blessing of God, or under the curse of God. In Malachi's day there were two ways to live: receiving God's words through the prophet, or rejecting God's words through the prophet. In Christ's day there were two ways to live: hearing and acting on Christ's words, or hearing them and not acting on them. So today, there are two ways to live: following God or rejecting God. One brings joy, the other brings judgment.