Malachi 4:1–2 (HCSB)
1 “For indeed, the day is coming, burning like a furnace, when all the arrogant and everyone who commits wickedness will become stubble. The coming day will consume them,” says the Lord of Hosts, “not leaving them root or branches. 2 But for you who fear My name, the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its wings, and you will go out and playfully jump like calves from the stall.
This pericope is short, only three verse, and I’ve selected two of them as the “Key Verses”! There is much here, and much that is related and can be lost in by diving into the study of it, but I will be brief here.
After all the descriptions of how Israel has been revolting against God, the distinguishing between what is righteous, and of God, versus what is unholy and sinful, which happens to be what Israel has been doing, we get this vivid promise from God. The promise is that there will be a day that is coming when the righteous and unrighteous will face very different judgements. But let’s pause and focus on that word “is”. Do not mistake that this is a done deal, it is happening, write it in pen on the calendar. There is no “possibly”, “might” or “maybe”, it is coming, it will happen, and God already has it scheduled. People can be uncomfortable with the thought of this, that time is limited, that there is a point when the way things are now will end.
And what people can be even more uncomfortable with is what takes place at that time. This is when our picture of this timid, permissive, weak Jesus is shattered. God will judge. And God will punish. The “arrogant” and the “wicked” will face some nasty stuff. People don’t like that, it doesn’t fit their picture of God, all lovey-dovey and accepting of everything they could possibly think to do, no matter how offensive, arrogant, prideful, sinful, and evil it is. They will be “consumed”.
But the righteous, they have a different hope, and praise God for it! But look, it’s not because they are better than the rest. Look at Malachi 4:2… “you who fear My name.” That’s the difference! Placing our faith in Christ is what separates the lost from the saved, the unrighteous from the righteous, the consumed from the healed. And check that out, you know the saved are not perfect, that they are messed up just like the lost, because the “sun of righteousness” has “healing” in it… those that aren’t sick and wounded do not need healing!
This is a short but powerful passage, culminating all the previous distinctions God has made. We cannot, and will not be able to, say that we had no clue about what was to come. We have a choice: our pride and self, or God. He will judge accordingly.
Lord, thank You for saving us! Thank You for the promise of healing, of restoration. Thank You for standing against sin and evil, it should be a comfort to know that their time is limited, but You are forever. I pray that each of us would make our choice today, and that it would be You. It won’t mean that we are perfect, or righteous on our own, but it will mean that You have stood in our stead and covered our debt. Thank You! Amen.