Advent Series Day 12: Malachi 4:5-6

December 18, 2017

Scripture Reading: Malachi 4:5-6

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.

 

Question for Children:

Why would the Day of the Lord be both great and dreadful?

 

Explanation and Meditation:

Malachi’s words are what conclude our English Old Testaments and are likely some of the final words God relayed to his people before the prophets went silent. Israel’s Babylonian captivity was over. God had changed hearts of kings, toppled empires and sent his people back to their land where they had rebuilt the temple and reconstructed the walls around Jerusalem. But even though they had all the trappings of restoration (land and temple), all was not right. God’s glory had left the temple (see Ezekiel 10) and it would not return there again. Israel’s allegiance to the snake had driven Him away. Intoxicated by the snake’s lies, God’s people had quickly resumed the idolatry, oppression, and sexual immorality of their parents and grandparents.  They were in spiritual exile, desperately needing a heart restoration. And so the Old Testament ends in much the same way it began–with God’s curse on his people for disobedience, but also a promise of hope that the “Day of the Lord” was coming–a day that would bring the return of God’s presence among them. A day that would bring restoration for Israel and judgment for their enemies.

What Israel did not understand, but we now know from Jesus’ own testimony and the apostolic accounts is that the “Day of the Lord” and the Advent of the Promised King were connected. When God sent the Promised King as a baby, he sent his very presence among them to begin his great work of restoration for Israel and salvation for the Gentiles.

But before that restoration could take place, God would first send a prophet–a prophet who would appear on the scenes after 400 years of silence from God. A prophet who would come–like Elijah–to preach repentance and a turning back to God. A prophet to prepare the way before the Lord and to signal his return to his people.

Song of longing and hope: O Come, O Come, Emmanuel

O come, O come, Emmanuel
And ransom captive Israel
That mourns in lonely exile here
Until the Son of God appear

Chorus:
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel

O come, O come, Thou Lord of might
Who to Thy tribes, on Sinai’s height
In ancient times didst give the law
In cloud, and majesty and awe

Chorus

O come, Thou Rod of Jesse, free
Thine own from Satan’s tyranny
From depths of hell Thy people save
And give them victory o’er the grave

Chorus

O come, Thou Dayspring, come and cheer
Our spirits by Thine advent here
Disperse the gloomy clouds of night
And death’s dark shadows put to flight.

Chorus

 

 

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