“Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the great and awesome day of the LORD comes. And he will turn the hearts of fathers to their children and the hearts of children to their fathers, lest I come and strike the land with a decree of utter destruction.” (Malachi 4:5-6 ESV)
God’s love is amazing! Unfortunately, we do not always appreciate how amazing God’s love is because we do not comprehend his unquenchable thirst for absolute justice. One of my takeaways from 2015 is the appreciation for the fact that God has spoken. As I reflect on the past year I consider the further deepening of this conviction as a marvelous gift. God’s love is evident in that he has revealed himself to man in Scripture and ultimately in his Son. He cares about our relationship with him to the point that he has intervened in, no shaped human history so as to demonstrate compassion in a cold and violent world. Were it not for God and his infinite mercy our days would be filled with such violence that scarcely a person would live without fear and loss. Nevertheless, the last two verses of the Old Testament carry a message of hope and tenderness that betrays our desperate need for God’s revelation and his willingness and commitment to make himself known.
Sending Elijah is a reference to sending John the Baptist. He is the voice that cries in the wilderness (Isaiah 40:3). He is the one of whom Jesus said, “For all the Prophets and the Law prophesied until John, and if you are willing to accept it, he is Elijah who is to come” (Matthew 11:13-14). God sent him “to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, to make ready for the Lord a people prepared” (Luke 1:17). Is this not an amazing act of mercy? God sent John to preach of his mercy and call people to repent of their sins! The result of a person’s appropriate response to John’s preaching was that they would be prepared for the coming of the Lord Jesus! Their hearts would be changed so as to recognize the mercy of God and the love he demonstrated in and through his Son. All of this preceded by the words, “I will send you Elijah the prophet BEFORE the great and awesome day of the LORD comes”.
Oh beloved! God has made himself known in so many ways! Truly he is a God who wants to make himself known to us. He has expressed himself in ways we can understand. He has given us his word both in Scripture and the incarnate Word in the person of Jesus Christ! What an amazing treasure we have! What an amazing privilege to have access to so much knowledge and wisdom from God! I pray this year will be one where all of us grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior through the hearing and the doing of God’s word. What a gift! What a treasure!