Monday 23 December 2013

Bible Book:

“But who can endure the day of his coming” (v. 2)

Malachi 3:1-4 Monday 23 December 2013


It is hard for many of us to read this passage without theawesome, frightening exciting Bass solo from Handel's Messiah ringing in ourears. It is also quite easy to hear this passage as simply aMonday-morning feeling with only two days to go to Christmas - 'Butwho can endure the day of his coming' - So much to do and so littletime.

However the passage from Malachi has a more ambiguous feel. Onthe one hand there are the terrors of God coming to people with themountains shaking; a frightening God who is sovereign of theuniverse before whom kings and queens must fall and bow. But on theother hand, there is a promise of healing and forgiveness that oneday the broken relationship will be healed and our offeringacceptable. Both moods matter.

Recently, I was waiting in Heathrow Terminal 5 near to a hugealtar like display of super cars; cars costing over £300,000 eachwere suspended from the ceiling and were being raffled. It was anamazing sight and to communicate the excitement they were playingmusic from Mozart's Requiem Mass. 'Dies irae,dies illa' (translated "Day of wrath, day of mourning) pounded outinto the massive lounge. The words warning of God's coming, ofwrath and doom. The irony of the music and display hit me. Surelythe excessive consumerism and the petrol head obsession withmassive consumption is worthy of the warnings of God. I declinedthe offer of a £50 raffle ticket but asked, "Do you know what themusic is?" I was curious to know if the salesman had got theoddness of the set up. "No," he said, "but I think it isclassical." I wondered about Malachi's question.

The answer to the question, 'But who can endure the day of hiscoming?' is that we can. We can because, "God did not send the Soninto the world to condemn the world, but in order that the worldmight be saved through him" (John 3:17). The ambiguity of terrorand promise in Malachi is resolved in Christ who comes, "withhealing in its wings" (Malachi 4:2).

To Ponder

  • How does the thought of the coming Christmas Day fill you? Areyou ready?
  • What does God's coming mean to you?
  • What would you like to say to the salesman?

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