First Reading: Malachi 3:19-20a
The Coming Wrath
Have you ever called out to God for the bad times to end? What happened?
19 “For, behold, the day comes, it burns as a furnace; and all the proud, and all who work wickedness, will be stubble; and the day that comes will burn them up,” says YHWH of Armies, “that it shall leave them neither root nor branch. 20 But to you who fear my name shall the sun of righteousness arise with healing in its wings. You will go out, and leap like calves of the stall.”
World English Bible
When will evil be taken from our eyes? When will our enemies taste justice? These questions are as old as humanity, yet as new as today's reports. This vexing can be summed up in one question. Lord, when will you come?
The prophet Malachi proclaimed his oracles when the world was undergoing change. In the fifth century B.C., the Persian Empire returned the Jews to their homeland from exile in Babylon. Yet, these benevolent rulers faced the rising menace from the Greeks to the west. At home, the excitement of the return had worn thin. Jewish leadership (especially in the Temple) had returned to its corrupt ways. The poor suffered at the hands of the rich. Lost in the stress of political instability and religious corruption was faith. In the face of this turmoil, God was forgotten.
The prophet wrote a simple message. God would return. In the coming day of judgement, the Lord would consume the evil like a flash fire of intense heat. But that same fire would sooth the faithful. [19-20a]
God's judgment is a two-edged sword. It condemns yet vindicates. His judgment will come, despite the seeming delay. But rest assured. It will come.
How do you look forward to the coming of the Lord?