Wednesday, January 1, 2014

A Book to End With -- A Book to Begin With

One Year Bible
Old Testament passage for December 31, 2013:  Malachi 3:1-4:6

“Remember the Law of Moses, My servant, which I commanded him in Horeb for all Israel, with the statutes and judgments.  Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LordAnd he will turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers, lest I come and strike the earth with a curse.”  Malachi 4:4-6 (NKJV)

It's New Year's Day 2014!  Happy New Year to you.  Due to holiday travel, I am a day late in posting the final Old Testament passage of 2013.  Malachi brings to a close the pages of the Old Testament and sets us up for the grand news of the New Testament.

In many ways, Malachi is not only the fitting end of God's revelation through the law and the prophets, it is also the perfect pointer toward Jesus and the Gospel of grace.

The last word in Malachi (and in the Old Testament) is "CURSE".  (4:6)  Paul picks this up in Galatians when he writes, "Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us (for it is written, 'Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree'), that the blessing of Abraham might come upon the Gentiles in Christ Jesus, that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith." (Gal. 3:13-14)  The law can never justify.  It can only condemn.  It is like a schoolmaster driving us to Jesus (Gal. 3:24).  The Old Testament points toward Jesus!

Much can and should be said about these last two chapters of Malachi.  It speaks of the coming of John the Baptist (3:1).  It tells us that Jesus will be like a "refiner's fire", like a "launderer's soap" (3:2).  He will clean us up!  We read about God's process of making us "His jewels" (3:17).  There is so much.  He will "arise with healing in His wings" (4:2).

I am particularly hearing three words as we begin 2014.  These three words are at the core of Malachi 3-4.  They are:




I believe God wants to do major work in these areas as we begin this new year.  Let me explain further.

Relationship is RELATIONSHIP TO GOD.  He is calling us to tighten the upward dimension.  Malachi 3:7 says, "Return to Me, and I will return to You."  God want us to come near in a new way.  It is a call from the heart of God.  And, we are to bring friends and relatives who are far from Him.  Nothing takes the place of a clear, clean relationship with God.

Resources are always a challenge.  But God does not simply want to provide for our wants and needs.  He will bring RESOURCES FOR THE JOURNEY.  Many, many people languish in lack.  I believe this is more than just mismanagement (although that may be significant).  It is at its core spiritual and requires spiritual power to overcome.  Malachi 3:8-12 speaks about "rebuking the devourer" and the release of abundant provision.

Restoration is vital for us all today.  I am referring to the reclaiming of that which Satan has stolen.  Particularly, I am thinking of the RESTORATION OF MARRIAGES AND FAMILIES.  That is exactly what Malachi ends the book with.  It is the restoration of the relationship between father and son (Mal. 4:6).

Malachi is a book to end with.  It is a book to begin with.  May 2014 be a breakthrough year for us and our families.

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