Malachi Week 5: (3:16-4:6): The Results of Repentance—Assurance, Hope, and Expectation.
We are coming to the end of our 5-week journey through the Book of Malachi. It has not been an easy journey— self-examination and confrontation never is. But as Paul assures us in 2 Cor. 4:17-18, “For this light momentary affliction is preparing us for an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.”
Though insecurity, doubt, fear may be caused by some hurt from our past, many times they are the hallmarks of a life distracted by the world and focused on the temporal. Insecurity causes us to doubt God’s love and withhold our best from Him. Doubt and fear cause us to compromise and dishonor God’s name. Thus, it is imperative to root these things out of our lives. As difficult as God’s confrontation of our sin is, God’s discipline is not done in anger and malice; it is done in love with our best interests in mind.
Though we think we know what’s best for us, God has so much more in store if we would just let go of our pride and self-sufficiency and trust Him. C. S. Lewis puts it this way, “It would seem that Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.” We are far too focused on the seen at the expense of the unseen.
That’s why Malachi began with a call to repentance. All of us, without exception, need to live our lives in an attitude of repentance, looking for that next area of our lives that needs to be conformed to the image of Christ. As we saw in Weeks 3 and 4, when we are willing to do so, God promises us restoration. That in and of itself is really enough. Knowing that God’s face is turned toward us brings such comfort and joy. But as Malachi closes, we see God has so much more for us.
Malachi concludes with the promise of the coming of Jesus. This is not a promise that was fulfilled with Jesus’ first coming; this is a promise that has yet to be fulfilled. While it is a day that bring judgment for those outside the family of God, it is also a day of expectation and joy for those of us who have given our hearts and lives to Jesus. It is a day when all things will be made right and we will finally be all that God meant us to be. It is a day that will make all this momentary affliction worthwhile. It is a day that brings security, hope, and expectation. If we will only focus on the eternal, God will replace our mud pies with an ocean.
As we wrap up our study of Malachi, what has God taught you? In what areas have you grown?
Are there any areas where you still feel God’s conviction? What changes have you made in response to
God’s prompting in your life?
3. How do the promises of God combat our insecurities, doubts and fears? What are some of the specific areas where you struggle with these things?