Many churches throughout the world use a Bible reading schedule called a "lectionary." It's just a fancy word meaning "selected readings." Posts like this reflect on the readings for an upcoming Sunday or other Church holiday, as found in the historic one-year lectionary.
For several years I have worked with the three year lectionary, which has this reading near the end of the Church year, so I made comments on it just a few weeks ago. Not surprisingly, there is nothing particularly new to say about our passage of Scripture from Malachi 4:1-6. However, let’s make a few observations. In the last day, the sun will rise. What is this sun that arises? Like the sun in our world, it is able to do a couple of different things, depending on the circumstances of the one receiving it.
For those who are disobedient, not trusting in the Lord as revealed in Scripture, the sun will be the heat source in a burning oven. It will not only heat things up, but it will be like the element on the “clean” cycle of the oven. All that is not of faith will be burned up, reduced to ash. God gives a clear and terrifying warning here. All who read and hear it are called to turn to God as he has revealed himself in Scripture “lest I come and strike the land with a decree of utter destruction” (v. 6, ESV). The deadly, burning sun is due to rise. Those who are not trusting in God through Christ should consider themselves warned. There will be no stopping of God’s judgment.
For those who are trusting the Lord as revealed in Scripture, the sunrise will bring healing, warmth, comfort, and nurture. Just as the sunshine causes plants to grow and gives light, warmth, and cheer, God’s people, identified by their trust in Him, will find they can walk before Him, seeing clearly. This is the sun of righteousness, rising with healing!
What’s the difference? It is the same sun. It is the same day of judgment which comes from God. The difference is in how we look to God, the source of light. As we are looking at him through faith in Christ, we are perfectly secure. Otherwise, God promises that it will be a day of doom. How do we treat this warning? May we have grace not to scoff at God’s warning. He keeps his promises. I pray that He will use this passage of Scripture to draw many closer to him in trust, as He has in the past. Let us heed God’s counsel in this, as in all things.
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