Malachi: “The Son-Rise”
Thomas D. Kock
It was about a 20-hour trip to reach our summer vacation destination. Since the kids were young, it made more sense to drive through the night while they slept.
I listened to tapes, slurped down coffee (but not too much so I wouldn’t have to stop), and munched on sunflower seeds. Sometimes I’d slap myself to drive away the sleepiness, or I sat up straight in the driver’s seat. My eyes were often bleary.
But then would come the sunrise. As its warming rays streaked the sky, the countryside was more and more revealed. Energy crept back into me. Somehow, it didn’t matter that I’d been driving all night. The sun was shining!
The wounding darkness of sin
There’s something about a sunrise, isn’t there? Maybe you’ve experienced the all-nighter and the refreshing rise of the sun. Maybe you’re an early morning riser and see the sun rise regularly. Either way, for many of us it’s energizing and encouraging.
Perhaps that’s why God chose to use that imagery near the end of the book of Malachi: “But for you who revere my name, the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its wings” (Malachi 4:2). That “sun of righteousness” is Jesus, the Son. And what does Jesus bring? He brings healing!
And isn’t that what I need as I enter a new year? I have so many wounds from the year past. Some of those wounds came from others as I struggled with health issues or job losses or relationship struggles. Unfortunately, way too many of those wounds were self-inflicted, the results of my own sinful thoughts, words, and deeds.
Oh, how I struggle! Oh, how I make a mess out of so much!
And it hurts! Sin can bring horrible results, either for me or for those around me—or both. Sometimes it hurts more, sometimes less, but it always hurts. It always wounds.
Thank God it does! If it didn’t hurt, we’d be even more tempted to live in rebellion against God, walking down the road to hell. Thank God that sin wounds us!
But even as I thank God for the wounds, they’re still wounds. And the wounds drain energy from me, similar to how the all-night drive through darkness drained my energy.
The healing light of forgiveness
Take heart, brothers and sisters; it’s sunrise time again! We’ve just celebrated Jesus’ birth; he came to this world because sinners needed forgiveness. And he won that forgiveness for sinners like you and me.
With that forgiveness comes healing. Jesus’ death and resurrection assure us that forgiveness for ALL sin has been won. Those sins that were committed last year? They’re forgiven. Jesus won that forgiveness. And the sins that were committed last month? They’re forgiven too! What about the sins that were committed last week? Yesterday? An hour ago? They’re all forgiven. God still loves us! He always will.
Hearing that is oh, so healing! Kind of like feeling the warm, bright rays of the sun as it rises after a long, cold, dark night.
May the Son shine brightly upon you in 2019! And may he bring wonderful healing in his wings.
Contributing editor Thomas Kock, a professor at Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary, Mequon, Wisconsin, is a member at Atonement, Milwaukee.
This is the final article in a 12-part series on minor prophets.
Lineage: “Malachi” means “my messenger.”
Date of writing: c. 450 B.C.
Unique feature: Written in a dialogue—or disputation—format: a question is posed, and then God answers it.
Key verse: Malachi 3:6: “I the LORD do not change. So you, the descendants of Jacob, are not destroyed.”
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Author: Thomas Kock
Volume 106, Number 1
Issue: January 2019
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