Sermons by Monday Club
Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: and the LORD, whom you seek…
The coming of the Messiah was in the time of the world's deepest wants. As in all instances of national degeneracy, two special causes bore their fruit in Malachi's time.
1. Neglect of the Divine ordinances. No Divine law has ever been given that was not essential to human well-being. A neglect of the Divine standard is consequently a sin against one's self. There is not a Bible precept that is unreasonable, and therefore it is unreasonable to give no heed to what is written. In this respect the sufferings of Israel were self-imposed.
2. Decay of spiritual life. It is hardly possible to realise the depth of wickedness portrayed by the prophet.The priests despised the name of Jehovah. The people had robbed God, and declared it a vain thing to serve Him. In a twofold way we observe the relation of such a lack of service to the national life. This sin resulted in the alienation of the hearts of the children from their parents. It is a mark of national decay when the children make light of their fathers, when they scoff at former virtues. Again, sin against God always carries with it wrong-doing against man. Love cannot be localised upon men while withheld from God. The man who cannot truly honour God will not truly honour man. Our deeds declare our religion. Well did the prophet ask, "Who may abide the day of His coming?" Who shall bear the tests of His judgment? The prophesied coming of Elijah referred to John the Baptist. There is something sublime in the rugged character that confronted a degenerate nation. He only who knows the Divine greatness and power can have courage to rebuke the self-conceit that resists God. The life of the Baptist interprets the two great lessons of the prophecy in our text calling for notice.
1. Our hope rests in the unchanging God. The idea of changeableness in the one trusted destroys all faith in its very essence. It is unhuman to love the being that to-morrow may turn against us. But for this Divine characteristic no sinner could stand in God's sight. It was this truth against whose bright background Israel's sin is of the deepest guilt.
2. The suicide of unbelief. God added no terrors to Israel's sufferings in the fiery day. They had but to remember their words, "His blood be on us, and on our children." Unbelief can stay the exercise of Divine mercy towards the individual, but it cannot keep back its own retribution. It can give blindness to the heart, but it cannot blot out the Divine judgment. Against the darkness of the prophet's picture there is another, of brighter meaning. There is a healing power in the beams of the Sun of Righteousness. Light takes the place of darkness. The righteous shall not be as flowers to fade and to die, but rather, strong and a source of joy, like the herds that feed in richest pastures. Jehovah is that blazing sun of glory. Unbelief brings a sunset of terror, while righteousness is itself the sunrise of everlasting joy.
(Sermons by Monday Club.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: and the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, he shall come, saith the LORD of hosts.
WEB: "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 Yahweh of Armies.