Tumbling in the Sand
Text: Malachi 3:16-4:6
“Who can endure the day of [the Lord’s] coming, and who can stand when he appears?” Malachi preaches.
The day of the Lord for Malachi is about judgement
about how all of the people have failed to do justice
to do what is right
to love God and love neighbor.
The people have failed to care about one another
and have decided it is far more profitable to
follow shady business practices
to misuse religion for their own ends
All of the people have chosen to worship gods
that make them more comfortable
like wealth and power and self.
And the only reason that the people are still around at all, in Malachi’s opinion,
is because God keeps God’s promises.
And God promised not to wipe them out — at least not until the day of the Lord.
The day of Lord holds little hope for Malachi.
It is one of judgement and wrath and punishment.
But it is here at the very end of Malachi’s book that we get a hint of hope.
Hope that comes, oddly enough, from having listened to the condemnation and taking it seriously.
We have been condemned and because of that, there is hope.
See, at the beginning of this passage, the faithful gather to speak amongst each other about the words of judgement
spoken by Malachi.
They gather believing his words to be true—
they have done wrong.
they have been condemned.
But they gather also believing that God keeps God’s promises
and that repentance is an option
and that prayer makes a difference
and that the day of the Lord could be different than what Malachi claims
because they have had their sins and brokenness pointed out to them and they now have the chance to change.
It is out of an understanding of our lack of consistency and God’s enduring faithfulness
that we receive a promise of hope:
Not that the day of the Lord will not come
Not that judgement will not happen
Not that evil will not be punished
But rather that we will receive again and again
the words of the prophets
and the call to repentance and forgiveness.
And out of that hope and faith, we will be changed
so that when God does come, as God does come
the whole world will be transformed and made new.
Featured Image from http://wherelivingwatersflow.wordpress.com/. Read their blog post: “Hope of the Hopeless”