Wednesday 23 December 2020

Bible Book:

Lo, I will send you the prophet Elijah before the great and terrible day of the Lord comes. (v. 5)

Malachi 3:1-4, 5:5-6 Wednesday 23 December 2020

Psalm 25


Malachi (literally ‘my messenger’) pulls no punches in this short book, which is written in the form of an imagined Q&A with the corrupt priests who, Malachi says, have dishonoured God by, for instance, offering ‘polluted food’ on the altar (1:7) and robbing God (3:8). Malachi declares that God will send a prophet in the mould of Elijah, who will be the only means by which God’s wayward people might survive the "great and terrible day of the Lord" (4:5).

Reading this passage as part of this week’s series, we see Malachi’s promises fulfilled in the births of John the Baptist (in whom Elijah’s ministry of repentance, reconciliation and readiness found new expression – see Luke 1:17, 76) and Jesus. But it was roughly 400 years between Malachi and the births that Christians believe heralded the fulfilment of his prophecies – 400 years between this page of our Bibles and the next.

The Covid-19 pandemic has required many of us to be patient this year. We don't know how long exactly we might have to wait until we can see our family and friends, return to our church buildings, and hug each other. It can be hard, under these circumstances, to stay hopeful, and to continue to believe that things will get better. Often, biblical prophecies were not fulfilled in the lifetimes of their original hearers. And yet our hope is not based on naïve optimism or wishful thinking, but is grounded in the promises of God, and sustained by faith, which means that we can be certain of the things we do not yet see (Hebrews 11:1).

To Ponder:

  • Malachi talks about the "great and terrible day of the Lord". If Jesus were to return to earth today, how would you feel about coming face to face with him? Where might you expect to encounter him?
  • What are you waiting for?


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