“A pronouncement: The word of the Lord to Israel through Malachi.” — Malachi 1:1 (CSB – Read the chapter)
While it’s popular today to talk about eating dessert first, I am more of a save-the-best-for-last kind of guy. I’d rather slog through the tough stuff at the beginning so I can sit back and savor the best stuff with even more time to enjoy it. Well, as our journey through the minor prophets comes near to its end as we land on the final book of Malachi, we have saved the best for last. Here’s a little preview of coming attractions.
“People will live there, and never again will there be a curse of complete destruction. So Jerusalem will dwell in security.” (CSB – Read the chapter)
Post-apocalyptic movies have had a pretty steady audience for several decades now. It’s a niche market, to be sure, but one that has been growing over the years. The reason for this is cultural. Our visions of the future are either hyper-technological or post-apocalyptic or both. Usually, if you push them far enough out, the more desolate picture wins. Visions of utopia have generally dried up. We are increasingly without hope as a people. What Zechariah reminds us of here, though, is that hope should never be given up on entirely.
“Then I will pour out a spirit of grace and prayer on the house of David and the residents of Jerusalem, and they will look at me whom they pierced. They will mourn for him as one mourns for an only child and weep bitterly for him as one weeps for a firstborn.” (CSB – Read the chapter)
I used to love reading the comics. I’d make sure I got ahold of a copy of the newspaper every single day so I could see the latest from all of my favorite artists. I actually own the complete boxed set collections of both Calvin and Hobbes and The Far Side–two of my prized possessions. I’ve got my eye out for a similar collection of Get Fuzzy when it finally goes out of regular print. Another of my favorites was always Peanuts. Everyone loves Charlie Brown and Snoopy and the gang. He made popular an already common phrase: Good grief. I say all of that to ask this: Is it really?
“Rejoice greatly, Daughter Zion! Shout in triumph, Daughter Jerusalem! Look, your King is coming to you; he is righteous and victorious, humble and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.” (CSB – Read the chapter)
Yesterday we talked about the fact that a persecuted people rejoice at the notion of their enemies being conquered more and in ways that a people who have not known persecution don’t. God understands this and gave Israel a picture of His commitment to stand against their enemies. What we see here is the other side of the picture–the victory that will come. But, while the first part of chapter 9 may have been more for them than for us, the second half matters a whole lot more to us. Let’s talk about it.
We are living in a moment of crisis and chaos. It seems in many ways that God has left the scene and we are merely fending for ourselves. This is exactly how it felt in Israel at the end of the season of the Judges. But, as we turn the page on that book and peer into the next–Ruth–we are reminded of an incredibly powerful truth: No matter how dark things may get, God’s still working. Keep reading to see how this incredible reminder unfolds.
God’s Not Done
Alright, I want to start this with a little survey. You can’t participate by a show of hands, but hit your “like” button or post a comment with your answer. Hit your “like” button or comment about it if you have ever had a cold before. Now, I can’t see those from where I’m sitting, but Nate is checking on them and letting me know the entirely expected news that most of you have had colds before. Okay then, next survey question: How many of you have recovered from your cold? Since you’re tuned in this morning or at least haven’t died yet from a cold if you do have one—and that’s one positive thing about this format…you didn’t just out yourself as a germ-factory to a roomful of people who all want to get away from you now—I’m going to go ahead and assume that everyone has answered that question affirmatively. Do you know how that happened? Your immune system kicked into gear and kicked out the cold. That’s a pretty surface-skimming explanation, though. Do you know how your immune system actually works? I know we have a few medical folks watching who know a bit more than the average bear, but that’s admittedly not a question we generally think too much about—the current season being an exception to the rule.