Oklahoma City Federal Building. Twin Towers. Paris terror attacks. Myriad mass shootings. I carry the visceral, emotional impact of events in these places with me always. Add to these news reports of happenings in war-torn areas, acts of hatred, greed, and prejudice, and at times, I’m nearly crushed by the weight of evil. Still, could it be that the far more dangerous evil is that which remains unchecked in my own heart? Pride. Unforgiveness. Superiority. Disregard for the broken and needy. Why does the Lord tarry?
- Consider what subtle and hidden sin may be lurking in your heart.
READ THE WORD: MALACHI 4:1-6 (ESV)
4:1 “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.2 But for you who fear my name, the sun of righteousness shall rise with healing in its wings. You shall go out leaping like calves from the stall.3 And you shall tread down the wicked, for they will be ashes under the soles of your feet, on the day when I act, says the Lord of hosts.
4 “Remember the law of my servant Moses, the statutes and rules that I commanded him at Horeb for all Israel.
5 “Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the great and awesome day of the Lord comes. 6 And he will turn the hearts of fathers to their children and the hearts of children to their fathers, lest I come and strike the land with a decree of utter destruction.”
- What did God promise for the arrogant and evildoers (vs. 1)? What would be the result of “neither root nor branch” surviving?
- Contrast what is in store for those who fear God (vss. 2-3).
- With what were the Israelites charged (vss. 4-6)? And what promise was made to them? What do you think might have been the response from those living in a time of such corruption among the religious?
- How do you think remembering the Law of Moses is connected to the reconciliation of fathers and children? How might it be related to reconciliation with our Heavenly Father (vss. 4-6)?
- When you read this passage, do you feel hope or anxiety? Do you identify with the righteous who will rise? Or with those who will be stubble?
RESPOND TO GOD
The Israelites were choking under oppression and corruption. Disobedience and disdain for God’s holiness colored both their perspective of their own sin and of their view of God. They doubted God’s goodness. Malachi’s words are, at the same time, a warning and an invitation to hope. Likewise for us, these words are a call to check our hearts toward God. Will you be among those who fear his name, victorious, celebrating the day when no root of evil exists?
- Prayerfully consider any arrogance or disdain you hold for God’s laws.
- Ask God to root out any evil that wrongly colors your perspective of his goodness towards you.
- Praise God and worship him for his patient, faithful promise of healing.