“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, whom you desire, behold, he comes!” says The Lord of Hosts.”
The beginning of this chapter is a beautiful relief for the hungry human soul, who seeks the Lord. Amidst all the condemnation, which is necessary, there is a sure and certain hope, that God will send His messenger to teach the people His ways, and this messenger will speak the truth and be faithful in all things.
“Behold. He comes….” John the Baptist was the messenger born into a godly family, and set apart for a specific purpose of preaching the coming of the Son of God. He was a cousin to this preacher, who was the incarnate God. John the Baptist was a man born for a particular time and for a particular role. He rejected the easy life, and all the trappings of worldly success, and called out to his fellow women and men, to repent. This was the gospel of John the Baptist. Repent and be converted. Someone was coming soon, who was so worthy, that even John, as a holy man, was not good enough to untie the shoes of this Redeemer. John was sent by God to prepare the hearts of the people for the coming Messiah. His presence was foretold by the prophet Isaiah…
“A voice of one calling: “Prepare the way for the LORD in the wilderness; make a straight highway for our God in the desert. Every valley shall be lifted up, and every mountain and hill made low; the uneven ground will become smooth, and the rugged land a plain. And the glory of the LORD will be revealed, and all humanity together will see it.”
Isaiah 40: 3-5
John the Baptist was that prophet, and his message was unique, for it called people out of sinful lifestyles, to follow and obey this coming Messiah. John gave up the right to a soft life, and became an example of the attitude of all who proclaim this Saviour Jesus. His reward was not in this life, but in the life to come. He died a violent death, at the hands of a foolish and vain king, but God’s servant was praised by the Lord Jesus as the “greatest man who ever lived.”
“For this is he, of whom it is written, ‘Behold, I send my messenger before your face, who will prepare your way before you.’
Most certainly I tell you, among those who are born of women there has not arisen anyone greater than John the Baptist; yet he who is least in the Kingdom of Heaven is greater than he.”
Matthew 11: 10-11
“Behold he comes….” the messenger comes to Bethlehem, as was foretold by all the prophets. He comes without trumpets and worldly acclaim, but is born silently, into a lowly situation, to a humble couple who loved the Lord their God. It was foretold, and even evil Herod, could read the signs left in the pages of the Old Testament. Jesus is seen by the few, who were ready to receive the message in obedience and faith. It is recorded for us if we should wish to read it, and the power of God is seen in the protection of the Saviour of the world from human wickedness.
“Behold He comes..” He comes for those who are seeking Him and looking for His coming. All the prophecies pointed the way, but when Jesus came, it was a sudden and unexpected event. Even though we have signposts to the way of life, and the provision of the Saviour who came to die and rise again, we are still not ready. Jesus comes to the physical temple where He was dedicated to God, and which would be thrown down in the space of a generation. Jesus has come as the holy Lamb of God who can seal the covenant of promise and keep it eternally for the sake of His chosen people. He is the Saviour and the Redeemer of all who love Him and who walk in faith with Him, even in a sinful world.
There seems to be some desire in the people for such a Messiah, and there is a cooling off in regard for the corrupt priests at this time. Sin makes us sick and it eventually becomes too much for us to bear. We seek a Saviour. The religious leaders have no such power or authority or love for the people, who were perishing, to save them, or even point them in the right direction. The people are sin-sick, and there is no remedy in the religion of the Levite priests. When we get sick enough of sin, then God can come down and offer salvation and a new life. When we run out of this world’s diversions, we will get round to seeking the Lord. When the time is right, Jesus will come and there is rescue. Even this sentence shows how far away our hearts are from any desire for Christ. Unless the Spirit of God moves in us, we can never find life. This is not a woolly- minded feeling, but events that we can look back on and remember how God brought us to Jesus through the inner working of the Holy Spirit. This is crucial for our future assurance, and we must be clear.
“Behold He comes…” what joy for the sin-sick soul and the person who is seeking relief from the oppression of this present age. With what joy we learn and turn and repent, to find a living Saviour, who is for us and not against us. Life now begins, and there is peace with God and strength to live uprightly in a perverse age. Those who love the Lord Jesus will keep their eyes fixed on Him, the author and perfected of our faith. There is someone we can trust and rely on to keep us and bring us safely through the struggles as we walk towards heaven and home.
“Behold He comes…” Jesus is coming again. We look to the skies for our Lord to break through the gloom and put an end to the wickedness for good. He will take all His people home to Himself, and all who choose sin, will have what they desire. For the Christian it will be a greatest day, and the first day of an eternity of great days that will never end. For the unforgiven, it will be the worst day, and the beginning of an eternity of unending days of anguish.
This is the day we look to. The earth will melt with fervent heat and the Universe will implode like a rolled up cloth, heaven will be filled with delight and joys and utter pleasure, as the believer sees the one they love. Hell will open to receive those who reject the Lord and all His goodness. They will be forgotten forever.
Such joy in that heavenly kingdom, as all wrongs are put right and the glory of eternal righteousness is enjoyed by all those who love it and love the One who has bought it for them. We cannot yet know or understand enough to be specific about it, but it will be unimaginable peace, joy, love, all emanating from the Saviour of the world, who bought salvation for His people.
This should be our unending cry, in this world, “repent and seek the Lord.”
“Repent therefore, and turn again, that your sins may be blotted out, so that there may come times of refreshing from the presence of the Lord.”
Acts 3: 19
“Flee from the wrath to come.”
Matthew 3: 7
“He said therefore to the multitudes who went out to be baptised by him, “You offspring of vipers, who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Bring forth therefore fruits worthy of repentance, and don’t begin to say among yourselves, ‘We have Abraham for our father;’ for I tell you that God is able to raise up children to Abraham from these stones! Even now the axe also lies at the root of the trees. Every tree therefore that doesn’t bring forth good fruit is cut down, and thrown into the fire.”
Acts 3: 7-9
How can we claim love for lost people, when all we will do is give money into church funds? Where is our devotion to Christ, that propels us out into the streets to speak the news? Let us be clear, if we have no love for God or our fellow human being, we are not Christians. The levels of apathy and laziness, are astounding. We say we love God and want Him to help us, but we are not willing to learn or change, or make the sacrifice of our lives, to Jesus.
Let us remember who is speaking these words. It is the Lord of Hosts. The Lord commands and controls everything, and He is prepared to keep warning us, but at some stage, we must waken up. This prophecy of Malachi is at the end of an era, and is the punctuation for a period of silence from God. When God is silent, we should be afraid. When He stops speaking to you, you should pay attention to what He has just said to you, and consider why there is now silence. We need to listen to the Lord, and do what He asks. No one wants better for us than our loving God. However, if He is silent, and we don’t care, we are truly in a bad state. Here may be no way back from that position. Some people are lost long before they get to hell.
“Behold He comes…’ what joys that He comes for us… don’t delay…
“Now therefore be wise, you kings. Be instructed, you judges of the earth. Serve the Lord with fear, and rejoice with trembling. Give sincere homage to the Son, lest he be angry, and you perish in the way, for his wrath will soon be kindled. Blessed are all those who take refuge in him.”
Psalm 2: 10-12
This is the only appropriate response to the call of God. He will not call forever. We must come on His terms, and humble ourselves before Him, and give all honour and praise to His name. We serve Him with fear, and rejoice before Him with trembling. All those who trust in Him will not be confounded…