Looking Back, Looking Forward
By Justin Carmona
Remember the law of my servant Moses, the statutes and rules that I commanded him at Horeb for all Israel. 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.
A little over 400 years. That is how long it was between the prophecy of Malachi and the birth of Jesus. That is a pretty big span of time. In order to get across it you need a bridge. These are the last three verses in the Old Testament, and they serve as a bridge to the New.
Malachi writes to the returned exiles who have been in Jerusalem for about 100 years. One thing that is apparent from a reading of Malachi is the time in exile did not do much good. The people’s hearts were still towards the things of this world. The priests, the families, the social systems. You name it, they were going against God. It was in the midst of this spiritual chaos that the Lord speaks through the prophet.
These last three Old Testament verses remind us how great a gift the Bible is and point us towards a future day of the Lord. Malachi commands us to remember the law of Moses. The whole Bible – the law, the prophets, the writings – all point towards the hope that we have in Jesus. As we go through the next month studying God’s Word together in these advent devotions let us remember that it is all about Jesus. It is him in whom we have our hope.
Just as the people were called to look back, they were also called to look forward in anticipation. That there will be a prophet who will call people to repentance. One who will turn the hearts of the people. Fathers to sons and sons to fathers. This prophet has come in John the Baptist. John prepared the way for Jesus, calling people to repentance. Jesus has come, and in his life, death, and resurrection we can have changed hearts.
Let us not forget though, that this will happen again during the second advent. Jesus is coming back, and we will experience the Day of the Lord. Let us remember the words of Scripture, have a deep love for it, live it out, and share it so that we will be prepared for that awesome day.
Father, thank you for the truth of your word and the heart change that happens when the truth of the Gospel is revealed to us in it. Help us to live every day like it is the Day of the Lord