01 Sep Promise of restoration – Sept 12
By Yosia Yusuf
“And he will turn the hearts of fathers to their children and the hearts of their children to their father, lest I come and strike the land with a decree of utter destruction” – Malachi 4:6
The Old Testament closes with a promise of restoration in relationship, pictured in relationship between fathers and children. But to understand this verse clearly, we cannot ignore the verses before it. This restoration is an after effect of what God said in verse 4 and the result of what He will do in verse 5. The promise of verse 6 does not stand on its own. That’s why it is important to read scriptures in context.
“Remember the law of my servant Moses, the statutes and rules that I commanded him at Horeb for all Israel” – Malachi 4:4
Horeb is another name for Mount Sinai. When God (through Malachi) refers to commandment at Horeb, He is referring to what He said in the book of Exodus. “You, yourself have seen what I did to the Egpytians, and how I bore you on eagles’ wings and brought you to Myself. Now therefore, if you will indeed obey my voice and keep my covenant, you shall be my treasured possession among all peoples, for all the earth is mine” – Exodus 19:4-5.
God reminded us to remember that we have been called by Him. And with the call of God, comes the law of God. The law is given not in order for us to draw close to God, but because God has brought us to Himself. The law reveals God’s holy standard and we are called to obey it and with the obedience, comes the special privilege of being God’s treasured possession. But all of us failed to keep the laws of God and deserve nothing but destruction.
“Behold I will send you Elijah the prophet before the great and awesome day of the Lord comes” – Malachi 4:5
The ‘day of the Lord’ refers to Christ second coming in this immediate context. After telling us to remember the law of God and our failure in obeying it, God brought our attention to what He will do in the light of it; He will send Elijah to us. The promise of Elijah can be interpreted in two ways. First, the book of Luke refers to John the Baptist as the man with the spirit of Elijah. John’s message is to prepare the way of the Lord. He is pointing everything to the one who comes after him, Jesus.
The second way to interpret the ministry of Elijah is to look at the book of Revelation and how God sends two messengers to warn us about the upcoming judgment. The point of both interpretations is the same; they are pointing to the mercy of God in the light of judgment. The mercy of God is ultimately referring to Christ who died on the cross on our behalf. When we take hold of God’s mercy in the sacrifice of Christ, then “he will turn the hearts of fathers to their children and the hearts of children to their fathers…”