Malachi 4:2-3 … Leaping for Joy

The Lord of Heaven’s Armies says, “The day of judgment is coming, burning like a furnace. On that day the arrogant and the wicked will be burned up like straw. They will be consumed—roots, branches, and all.

But for you who fear my name, the Sun of Righteousness will rise with healing in his wings. And you will go free, leaping with joy like calves let out to pasture. On the day when I act, you will tread upon the wicked as if they were dust under your feet,” says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies.

Malachi 4:1-3

The Coming Day of Judgment

Have you ever read a passage of Scripture and then read it again only to say – huh? Sometimes you just have to use a commentary or call someone smarter than you. I opted for a commentary with today’s passage from Malachi, and before I finish this I won’t be surprised if I need to call someone. .

Reading through several trusted commentaries I learned that the phrase – “The sun of Righteousness” in verse 1 typically refers to the coming Messiah. I reread that first verse and the phrase “healing in His wings” jumped off the page, revealing, yet again, the HOPE that comes from being in Christ – belonging to God. Reading on through verse 2 with this fresh awareness I found myself smiling at the scene – where, in stark contrast to the wicked, described in verse 1 as being consumed — roots, branches, and all – we, who fear His name, are set free – “leaping with joy like calves let out to pasture”. As I mulled this one over – I was reminded of one of my favorite verses “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free …” Now, I don’t know if a Bible scholar would put these two verses together in any way, but for me, one highlights the other – for I am no longer bound or held captive by the law of sin and death instead, I live in freedom because the Messiah came to set me free. Oh, how I love when the Old Testament meets the New Testament, or visa versus, and defines its or at least shines a light on it.

The next part is still puzzling to me, but what I did notice was the description of God as – “the LORD of Heaven’s Armies” is the same reference of hope that the Psalmist used in our reading from Psalm 46 on Friday. Remember? He was referenced as being “on our side”. This picture goes with the commentary I found in my NIV study Bible for Malachi, that says –

“These last verses of the Old Testament are filled with hope. Regardless of how life looks now, God controls the future, and everything will be made right. We who have loved and served God look forward to a joyful celebration. This hope for the future becomes ours when we have trusted God with our lives.”

NIV Study Bible Note on Malachi 4:2-3

Some 400 plus years after these words from Malachi, the Messiah was indeed born, and with Him came the deliverance that had been promised and long-awaited. As believers today, we revel in the freedom received through Faith in the One who was born of a virgin, suffered, bled, and died for our sins, and rose again from the grave – delivering us from the bondage of sin and death. He is our Hope, the Anchor for our soul, and the reason we can proclaim with confidence – God is in control! I have nothing to fear! Christ, “the Sun of Righteousness,” is the reason we wait with confidence and not dread of the coming day of judgment when we will stand before God in the Righteousness and freedom of Christ and we will echo the words of the Psalmist and of Malachi – The LORD of Heaven’s Armies is on our side!

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