Peter Misselbrook's Blog
Dec 31 2019 - Malachi 3:6-4:6 – God's treasured possession

Let me begin by picking up a theme we looked at yesterday; the Lord comes to his temple not to destroy but to purify a people for his own possession. Today's passage begins with the following explanation, "I the LORD do not change. So you, the descendants of Jacob, are not destroyed" (3:6). Israel may have been faithless but the Lord is unchangeably faithful. He is the God of the covenant who made promises to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. He will not allow his word to fail.

The hope for the future is to be found in a small group of people who, in a period of general disobedience and unfaithfulness, remain faithful to the Lord:

Then those who feared the LORD talked with each other, and the LORD listened and heard. A scroll of remembrance was written in his presence concerning those who feared the LORD and honoured his name. “On the day when I act,” says the LORD Almighty, “they will be my treasured possession.” (3:16-17a)

In 2:10 the Lord accused his disobedient people of having little concern for one another – they broke faith with each other. Here, in contrast, there is a community of the faithful who fear the Lord and encourage one another. God knows those who are truly his people; their names are written in his book. They will be his treasured possession – his jewels – on the day when he comes to judge those who have disobeyed him.

When will this day be? "Surely the day is coming" says the Lord in 4:1. The book of Malachi concludes by telling us that the coming of that day will be signalled by the arrival of Elijah:

"See, I will send the prophet Elijah to you before that great and dreadful day of the LORD comes. He will turn the hearts of the parents to their children, and the hearts of the children to their parents; or else I will come and strike the land with total destruction." (4:5-6)

The New Testament tells us that this Scripture is fulfilled in the arrival of John the Baptiser (see, for instance, Matthew 11:14; 17:10-12). John is the one who came to call Israel to repentance in preparation for the coming of the Lord. Jesus is the Lord who has come to seek a faithful people who will be his treasured possession – a people who will fear the Lord and encourage one another as they talk together. Malachi wraps up the Old Testament by pointing us forward to Jesus the Christ and to the new covenant and new covenant people which he will establish. Upon a dark and broken world, "the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its rays" (4:2).

What a wonderful and memorable promise this is. The Saviour will come blazing in righteousness and providing healing for his broken people. Welcoming him they will "go out and frolic like well-fed calves" (4:2). Freed from their captivity they will be filled with joy and well satisfied with the abundant goodness of the one who has come to be their Saviour.

This promise, fulfilled in the coming of Jesus Christ some 2,000 years ago, will be consummated at his return. Our hearts still cry out, "Come, Sun of righteousness; come heal our broken world."

Father, thank you for the great drama of Scripture that unfolds through the stories of Adam and Eve, Abraham and Sarah, Moses and the Exodus, Joshua and the Promised Land, David and Solomon, disobedience and Exile, restoration and half-hearted obedience – all pointing forward to Jesus Christ, the Saviour of the world. May I be fully satisfied with him. May my life be centred upon him and flow from him. Help me, in glad company with the fellowship of your people, to shine as one of your jewels, bringing glory to the Saviour.

Peter Misselbrook