Malachi 4:2 “But for you who revere my name, the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its wings. And you will go out and leap like calves released from the stall.”
Once again we have a verse that Noriko Sasaki has set nicely to music. (Available at japanesechristianmusic.wordpress.com as YouWhoFearMyName.pdf.) Scriptures are so easy to remember when set to music! The risk to my translation is that I had to add words to fit the meter, since Japanese takes more syllables to say the same thing, but I don’t think I did violence to the original text. At any rate, this is a very interesting verse. The verse before this speaks of the wicked being burned up in intense heat, but that very heat, the “sun of righteousness,” will bring healing to those who fear the Lord. To me this brings to mind 1 Corinthians 3:11-15, which speaks of the Day of the Lord being “revealed with fire.” Paul mentions straw as something that will be burned up, and verse 1 here mentions stubble, so the images are very similar. The point is, nothing that is in defiance of Christ will be able to endure His appearing, but all that is submitted and committed to Him will rejoice at that appearing. It’s like the very best radiation therapy, that burns up the cancer cells but liberates the normal cells from the influence of the cancer. Right now human medicine doesn’t do that perfectly, but we can trust God to do the job right! We all have things in our lives that aren’t pleasing to God, so they will be removed when the time comes. (C. S. Lewis wrote memorably of this in The Great Divorce.) When everything that has bound us is turned to ash, we will be free indeed to rejoice in and fellowship with our Lord.
I find this a very attractive scenario. I became quite a science fiction fan in middle school, and though I don’t read it often now, I have consumed huge quantities over the years. I can think of more than one such story that would have various parallels to this in Malachi. Maybe that helped expand my imagination to be able to believe more of what the Bible says! At any rate, I am to look forward to the Day, whether it is Christ’s return and the consummation of history, or whether it is simply my personal appearance before the throne of God. In either case, I know that everything that separates me from my Lord will be removed, and I will indeed dance like a calf released from its stall. Maranatha!
Father, You know that the one thing that makes me want You to delay Christ’s return is the huge number of people I care about who are not yet in Christ. Peter said that’s what holds You back, and I’m grateful. (2 Peter 3:9) I pray that You would pour a spirit of repentance out on this city, this nation, so that people may turn from the lies that have bound them for so long and rejoice to join Your family as Your children, for their salvation and Your glory. Thank You. Hallelujah!