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Weekly Bible Devotion By Books
Sep 23-28, 2019
Enter the presence of the Lord-
17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! 18 All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: 19 that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. 20 We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. 21 God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. (2 Corinthians 5:17-21)
Scripture Reading: Malachi
4:4-5 4 “Remember the law of my servant Moses, the statutes and rules[b] 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.” (ESV)
Thoughts to Share: A Ministry of Reconciliation in Envision
The book of Malachi is the last book in the Old Testament. Afterwards, there are about 400 years of silence period before the Baptist John appeared in the wildness to prepare the way of Jesus Christ. That means, the Jews did not hear any more the word of God from any prophets.
The most interesting part of this book is probably on how and what it ends. Let us take one more look at its final verses.
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.” (ESV)
These two verses say three important things. First, the Jews will need to live by the Law for another unspecific period. The Law is where they will find peace and life amid all changes and turmoil going around them. They will live in the world but they do not have to follow the world trends. It may be not easy. Their ancestors and Malachi’s generation failed and failed in obeying and walking the Law. But, they need to try, try and keep trying to do their best. Secondly, there will be a new prophet Elijah coming to them. Elijah’s main mission will be reconciling the relation between fathers and their children. About what was Malachi talking here? Was he talking about family discord? Which family? As we reflect, we should remember that in Israel history, God had compared himself to the father of the Israelites. So, it is talking about the reconciliation between God and the Israelites. Thirdly, there will be a judgement time at the end. For those who do not turn their hearts to God himself, they will be perished.
In the light of these final verses, we start to comprehend why the book of Malachi begins with the corrections for Priests. Yes, the Temple was completed. And people came and used it. However, the Priests, who were the messenger of the Lord, dishonored the Lord’s name. They did not teach God’s commands. They could not give the knowledge and instructions to those who sought for them. They did not follow the prescribed ways and means to handle Temple business. They let the people slip away the tithe for the Lord. They saw the people to profane marriages and abandon their spouses without stopping them. In all, those priests failed their callings and duties. They failed the purpose and mission of the Temple, as God instituted it from the first Tent and the Solomon Temple. Their hearts were far away from God. God could not stop rebuking them. It was again a sad story.
We know that in all discords among human relations, the most heartbreaking case is when the children turn away their fathers, the heads of household usually, and fathers turn away from the children. Reconciliation is often hard to reach when sins stay in between. The Jews in Malaki’s time were in such a strained relation with God. For the reason only God knew, the new prophet Elijah did not come right away until 400 years later. The Jews continued to live in struggles in sins and inability to follow the Lord and longings for a way of saving them from sin and inability to please the Lord.
For us today, we live in the time when the new Elijah the Baptist John has come. The reconciliation promised in Malaki was prepared through him. He came to announce that the kingdom of God was at hand. He called people for repentance, for returning to God himself. He pointed out the one who was greater than him- Jesus Christ, the ambassador of reconciliation, the Lord. After the Baptist John, Jesus completed the way of reconciliation to God on the cross. Jesus Christ further commanded all of his followers to continue to share this good news of reconciliation between humans and God and between humans and humans.
To us today, the new temple, Church, has come. How we act in the Church is indeed still something that God is concerned and is supervised. Like the old Temple was placed in the world of confusions, violence, and conflicts, the Church is also placed in the world of confusions, violence, and conflicts. Like those Jews who were called to stand firm in their times, we are called to stand firm in our times. We are to honor the Lord’s name, to live by the word of God, and to guard our hearts and spirits. We are to mind how we act and handle things concerning the Church businesses. We are to be faithful to our marriages and to be generous to return what belongs to God’s to God.
O. Lord, thank you for the grace age that you have brought in to us. We live in it now. You have forgiven our sin of disobedience to you. You have sent your son Jesus Christ, the promised Lord to us. You have included us to be your children. You are our good Father in heaven. Yes, we are your ambassadors of your reconciliation ministry. Use us and be a blessing to those in need of your grace. Please remind us of how to serve you, not grieving your heart. Remind us to honor your name and glorify you in all we do and say- in your house Church, in our own home, and in our relating to others. We pray in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen!
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