Sunday, December 31, 2017

December 31: Malachi 3 – 4; Psalm 150; Proverbs 31:25-31; Revelation 22



Overview

            Malachi: The Lord will send a messenger to prepare the way before him before he comes suddenly to the temple. When he comes, who will be able to endure because the Lord will purify the Levites like a refiner’s fire. Then they will bring righteous offerings pleasing to the Lord.
            The Lord will then bring judgment against all the evildoers, oppressors, and foreigners. These are those who don’t fear the Lord.
            The Lord doesn’t change; he hasn’t changed his laws from when their fathers went astray or wiped them out because of it. They must return and stop robbing the Lord by failing to tithe and make contributions. They are cursed because of their failure. If they stop robbing the Lord, he will remove the curse and bless them with all they need. The land will be a delight for them.
            They have also spoken against the Lord by saying that serving him is useless. They do it by calling proud people blessed and believing evildoers test God but are not judged.
            Those who feared the Lord listened and their names were recorded in a book. The Lord said they would belong to him when he collects his treasures. Then they will see the difference between the righteous who serve him and the wicked who don’t serve him.
            That day will be like a burning oven when the proud and evildoers will be burned up like stubble. Nothing will be left of them. Those who fear the Lord will be saved by the Sun of Righteousness. They will have joy like calves set free from a stall. They will trample the wicked when the Lord acts against them.
            They are to remember the Law of Moses. The Lord will send Elijah ahead of that day to restore father-son relationships or he will destroy the land.
            Psalm: We are to praise the Lord. We praise him in every place because he is there. We praise him because of all he has done because he does it excellently. We are to praise him with all sorts of musical instruments. All creatures with breath are to praise him.
            Proverbs: An excellent wife has strength and dignity expressed in the way she dresses and has no fear of the future. She has wisdom and teaches kindness. She isn’t lazy. Her children and husband bless her with praises. Many women are like this, but this one wife is better than them all. She doesn’t get praise because of her charm, which can be deceitful or because of her beauty but because she fears the Lord. Her deeds will bring her praise by everyone.
            Revelation: The angel showed John a river filled with the water of life. It flowed from the throne of God and the Lamb and through the city. The tree of life was on both sides of the river bearing a different fruit each month. The leaves heal the nations. There will no longer be accused things in the city but God, the Lamb, and his worshiping servants. They will see him face to face and there will be no more night for the Lord will be their light and will reign forever more.
            The angel told John that all the words of the book are trustworthy and true because the Lord, who is the one who directs the spirit of prophets sent him to tell John what will happen soon.
            Jesus says he is coming soon. The ones who keep the words of this prophecy are blessed.
            John verifies that he saw and heard all this. He fell down to worship the angel, but the angel stopped him. He explained he is a fellow servant along with the prophet and everyone who keeps the words of the book. He is to worship God. He also told John not to seal up the prophecy because the time is near. The ones who do evil will continue to do so and those who are righteous will do right and be holy.
            Jesus says he is coming soon and will bring his rewards or punishment with him to repay people for what they have done. He is the Alpha and the Omega, beginning and end.
            Everyone who washes their robes will have a right to the tree of life and enter the city. Outside are people who do evil.
            Jesus affirms he sent his angel to tell these things to the churches. He is the descendent of David and the bright morning star.
            The Sprit and the Bride says, “Come,” to all who are thirsty so they can drink without price.
            We are warned not to add or subtract words from the prophecy or we’ll receive the plagues for adding or will lose our share in the tree of life for subtracting.
            Jesus testifies to this and says he is really coming soon. So, come Lord Jesus. Grace of the Lord Jesus to all.

What Stood Out

            Malachi: “Behold, I send my messenger and he will prepare the way before me. And the Lord whom you seek will suddenly come to his temple; and the messenger of the covenant in whom you delight, behold, he is coming, says the Lord of hosts” (Mal 3:1).
            Psalm: “Let everything that has breath praise the Lord! Praise the Lord” (Ps 150:6)!
            Proverbs: “Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised” (Prov 31:30).
            Revelation: “Behold, I am coming soon, bringing my recompense with me, to repay everyone for what he has done” (Rev 22:1).

Insight

            Malachi: When I read about the messenger that the Lord will send, I’m impressed with the fulfillment of the prophecy by John the Baptist. He was faithful in declaring that the Messiah was coming and that he would fulfill the prophecy of refining his people with fire. But I’m also impressed that in the middle of the prophecy is another about Jesus. It says that the people will be looking for the Messiah and he will appear suddenly in the temple.
            Jesus appeared in the temple when he was eight days old to fulfill the law. At that time, two people who were waiting for him recognized him. Simeon and Anna, an old man and an old woman (Luke 2:24, 38). He appeared again when he was twelve and amazed the teachers (Luke 2:47). Of course, he was in the temple many other times after that when he taught but still most people didn’t recognize him.
            The ending of Malachi started a 400-year wait for the Messiah. By the time Jesus arrived, the country was full of expectation. Still, these prophecies that would tell of judgment and others that would tell of the Messiah reigning over all the earth blinded the eyes of those were seeking the Messiah, because they were not looking for him so they could become righteous, but so they could become strong.
            I wonder how much we miss out on living victoriously over sin because we are looking for Jesus’ return to rule the world and not seeing him suddenly in the temple of our hearts. We want Jesus to fix everything broken in the world but don’t let him fix what is broken in our own lives. There is nothing wrong with wanting to see Jesus come back and rule. But, he doesn’t want us robbing God or speaking against him while we wait. We must remember that he also told us in various places in the Bible to wait for him and continue doing his will when he arrives.
            Psalm: When we think of God creating the might heavens and all his deeds, it should make us praise the Lord. We can’t fathom all his deeds or the greatness of his creation. He is way beyond anything we can imagine and worthy of all praise. Everything with breath, and that would include animals, are to praise the Lord. That is an interesting way to end the book of Psalms. It would be easy to imagine a day when the earth is restored to even better than the Garden of Eden and the animals would be able to speak and praise the Lord. It would be like the imaginary but allegorical depiction of God’s kingdom by C. S. Lewis, The Chronicles of Narnia. Wouldn’t that be cool?
            Proverbs: The world tells us one thing and the Bible tells us another. The world tells us that a refined and charming person is to be praised and honored. But the Bible tells us that some charm is deceitful. The charming person will tell you what you want to hear so that you will think he or she is wise. But that is not honest and is just a form of flattery. Real charm comes from a fear of the Lord and that person will speak the truth in love.
            The world will tell you that you will be praised because of your outward beauty, and that is certainly true. But most people who are doing that are expressing their lusts rather than honest praise. And beauty doesn’t last. But a person who fears the Lord will not fall into that trap.
            The world will also tell you that to be an excellent wife, you have to do everything that this woman did and more. Don’t fall for that either because nobody’s perfect except Jesus. Besides, “Many women have done excellently” (Prov 31:29).
            Revelation: One thing should be abundantly clear in all the prophecies in the book of Revelation. Jesus is coming back! When he does, he will bring with him his rewards or punishment for everyone. The rewards are eternal life – the right to the Tree of Life and the river of Living Water. The punishment is just as sure. It is eternal torment in the lake of fire that is outside the New Jerusalem where the Lord and the Lamb will be on the throne.
            The only thing that isn’t clear is what “soon” means. However, we know that the Lord will let people continue to be evil until he comes (Rev 22:11), but that is not what he wants us to do. He wants us to continue to be righteous. He doesn’t want us to give up waiting and being good. That message came to Israel, to the Apostles, and it comes to every one of us who knows the Lord. Until “soon” happens, lets do what Jesus commanded when he left. Let’s make more and better disciples (Matt 28:19-20). That means we better work on being better disciples ourselves.

Application

             I want to be ready when Jesus comes back. I don’t want to be one that shrinks back because I’ve been lazy or disobedient. I want to be one of those who the Lord will count and collect as a treasure when he comes back (Mal 3:17).

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