The Day of the Lord
Open Your Bible
Malachi 4:1-6, Isaiah 60:19-22, Revelation 21:9-27
I don’t know about you, but I’ve really enjoyed the deep dive into the book of Malachi this week. I’ve not ever read Malachi before (don’t tell my Old Testament professor!), or at least not in this sort of detail, and it’s quite the surprising and enjoyable little book tucked at the very end of the minor prophets.
Malachi is a series of warnings and disputations between the Lord and His people, but there is a sharpness of wit and sarcasm that makes it stand apart from the other minor prophets. It’s a fitting end to the Old Testament, an exclamation point on the prophets that have scolded the Israelites and cried out for the Messiah. Malachi does both, though with less drama and weeping than some of the others. There are surprisingly irreverent moments, about wiping the faces of the priests with animal waste (Malachi 2:3), and others more lyrically poignant, like when Malachi describes the priests covering the Lord’s altar with tears (2:13).
Malachi reminds us that the world is broken, and we are broken. Even God’s chosen people, armed with God’s precious covenants and blessings, led by the chosen Levites, have failed to sow seeds of goodness, justice, righteousness, and love. As go the Israelites, so go the rest of us: bought with the blood of Christ, but still tilling in rows of brokenness and waiting for the harvest.
Malachi ends with a promise, a promise whose roots stretch all the way back to Genesis and all the way forward to Revelation. Wickedness and injustice will be no more, and those who fear the Lord will go out with joy. Goodness will be restored, and reinvented in a way that we cannot imagine how good it will be.
Revelation 21 is true and beautiful, and it is such a gift to read it today alongside Malachi 4. “Nothing unclean will ever enter it,” John wrote about the new Jerusalem (Revelation 21:27).
The people to whom Malachi wrote thought that maybe they were living in the new Jerusalem, the rebuilt city after the long exile. But they weren’t, and their hearts were still shaped more by themselves than by God.
The day is coming when wickedness will burn like stubble. We still cling to the same promise the Israelites did, but our hope is anchored in the body and blood of Christ. The day is coming when the sun of righteousness will rise. Until then, may we live in joyful anticipation of the assured and blessed morning.