Monday, November 7, 2016

Malachi 4:1-2a The Coming of the Sun of Righteousness

KEY TEXT: Malachi 4:1-2 "For behold, the day is coming, burning like an oven, when all the arrogant and all evildoers will be stubble. The day that is coming shall set them ablaze, says the Lord of hosts, so that it will leave them neither root nor branch. But for you who fear my name, the sun of righteousness shall rise with healing in its wings.”

KEY THOT: The sun brings both heat and light. The sun’s heat can be so intense as to start fires that can consume entire forest and everything living in it. In contrast, the sun’s light is the source of life and healing for everything on earth. Every green tree needs the sunlight to manufacture its food. Sunlight also produces vitamin D which are necessary for bone health, for strengthening the immune system, fighting brain aging and even loosing weight. Sunlight also disinfects our skins and our clothes that are put out to dry in the sun.  So, in describing the day of the Lord as the rising of the “Sun of righteousness”, Malachi implies that the same Sun will be experienced as the burning heat of divine judgment for those who reject Christ and the healing light of divine grace for those who accept Christ. 

For those who reject God’s salvation offered in gospel, Christ's return will be a terrifying experience: “the day is coming, burning like an oven, when all the arrogant and all evildoers will be stubble” (Malachi 4:1). The heat of this divine wrath will purge and purify the earth of all “stubble” that is not of God. Even for believers, the appearance of Christ will also mean the burning away of everything that is not of God in our ministry: “For no one can lay a foundation other than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if anyone builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw—each one's work will become manifest, for the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed by fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done” (1 Corinthians 3:11-13). The only comfort for believers is that though our works may be burned away if they are works of our own flesh rather than the Spirit, we ourselves shall nevertheless be saved because our foundation is Christ.

For those "who fear my name" (v.2), the coming of the Sun of Righteousness will be a great day of rejoicing. His return will bring light and life to all who believe in Him. There will be “healing in its wings” and we shall be leaping with joy like “calves from the stall” (v.2b). It will be a day of gladness as all our sins and sicknesses will be healed completely and death shall be banished forever: “He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning nor crying nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away" (Revelation 21:4). The day of the Lord will a day of tears of joy as we experience complete healing of our spirits, souls and bodies in our new resurrection bodies. We will be with Christ forever after He has returned and we will be reunited with loved ones who have gone before us in the new heaven and new earth. 

Thanks be to God for His amazing love and grace!

Father God, even as we witness with increasing alarm what is happening around us—global climatic changes, natural disasters from earthquakes and falling objects from outer space, including increasing political, social, religious and military tensions around the world, we know that Your coming is soon. Help us be ready so that Your coming may be for us healing rather than burning. Amen.

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