Day Seven of “Getting Ready for Christmas, ” read Malachi 4:1-6.
Near the end of the Old Testament period and at the conclusion to section of the prophets in the Hebrew Bible, God spoke a word of warning and hope for the people of God.
The warning had to do with the judgment of the wicked. “All the arrogant and evildoers” will experience judgment. Actually, this is also a word of hope in this sense for believers–the wicked will not prevail, the righteous judge of the universe will bring judgment over the earth. This gives hope to the righteous that their way will be vindicated.
This message of warning contained hope because the righteous will be blessed. Notice the wonderful, joyous words for those “who fear” the name of the Lord: “the sun of righteousness shall rise, with healing in its wings. You shall go forth leaping life calves from the stall” (Malachi 4:2).
The main message of hope had to do with the coming of Elijah before the great and terrible day of the Lord. Jesus told us that John the Baptist fulfilled this prophecy. John was the forerunner. His message of repentance prepared the way for our Lord to come to earth and make Himself known.
Jesus described John as the greatest of men in the Old Testament era. He faithfully proclaimed God’s message. John suffered greatly because He loved and served God deeply.
All of the work of God issues in change. Elijah in the Old Testament and John in the beginning of the New Testament called for repentance and a change of behavior.
Relationships are at the heart of behavioral issues. God wants change in our basic relationships. He wants to turn (the word for repentance) the heart of the fathers to the children and the children to the fathers. Isn’t this what we need today? Is there any greater need than kindness, love, and faithfulness among family members?
As we get ready for Christmas, let us “turn” from our rebellious behavior and “turn” toward complete obedience to God.
As you do this, start at home.
May God bless you.
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