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Day 219 – Thru the Bible
Today we complete Malachi. Well done!
Malachi 3 & 4 – God promises to bless (as He knows is best) generous giving to His purposes, and also to bring consequences upon the miserly. As an annual obligation to give the Lord 10 percent of the produce of the land, the tithe belongs to the Sinai covenant. It teaches us general principles of giving, but the obligation is transformed in key ways with the coming of Jesus. Christianity radicalizes the source of the tithe: now the whole of life, not just agricultural produce, is explicitly under the lordship of God. Christian giving should still be proportional (1 Corinthians 16:2), willing, and generous (2 Corinthians 9:7). A particular proportion is not specified in the New Testament.
Our giving is a diagnostic window into how we view God. If we see God as the gracious giver of all good gifts, we will desire to excel in the “grace” of giving (2 Corinthians 8:7). If we view Him as a hard taskmaster whose service is a burden, however, it will be visible in our reluctant giving. The issue is our attitude, not the amount (Luke 24:1–4).
Through it all, we remember Jesus, who “though He was rich, yet for your sake He became poor, so that you by His poverty might become rich” (2 Corinthians 8:9). We are cheerfully generous not in order to pay God back, but in light of His great and lavish generosity toward us. What else could we do?
Unbelievers think serving God is worthless. Believers may be tempted to think likewise because of the difficulty of their circumstances. Yet God views the two groups differently. Those who respect the Lord are His treasured possession (Exodus 19:6). Because the Lord knows them, their final destiny is peace. However, the destiny of the wicked is to be stubble for the fire. When God finally acts, the difference between the righteous and the wicked will be clear to all (Malachi 3:1–3).
Yet if we are all sinners, how is a different destiny for the righteous and the wicked possible? Echoing this prophecy from Malachi, the God sent John the Baptist as His prophet Elijah to call people to repentance in preparation for Jesus’ public ministry (Matthew 11:14). John was merely the forerunner: in Jesus, the door is opened for all who repent to receive spiritual healing through His sufferings (Matthew 17:12). Jesus was burned in the oven of God’s wrath for our iniquity. He was crushed underfoot for our restoration. He is the Son on whom the Father did not show compassion, even though He served Him faithfully, so that we might receive adoption as God’s sons through His blood. No one serves God and loses, just as no one ultimately tests God and escapes. Those who mock the gospel will go to utter destruction, but those who trust in the Lord receive eternal life and wholeness in Jesus.
The Old Testament closes, then, with a word of promise ringing in the minds of its readers concerning the two greatest prophets of old: Moses (Malachi 4:4) and Elijah (4:5). When God determined to show the significance of Jesus’ earthly ministry, He had these two men appear on a mountain with our Savior in the transfiguration (Mark 9:4). Moses represented the Law and Elijah represented the Prophets. Their appearance in Jesus’ time indicated that He was the apex of their messages, fulfilling and transcending them both, as demonstrated by His attractive and impressive radiance (Mark 9:3). He is the One whom the Law and the Prophets ultimately anticipated—as He said to His disciples, “everything written about Me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled” (Luke 24:44).
In Jesus the entire Bible clicks into place. The whole Bible is, at its heart, the word of God’s grace that culminates in His Son (Romans 1:1–2; 2 Timothy 3:15).
How does seeing Jesus so clearly in the Old Testament reveal that He is what the entire Bible is all about?
What other thoughts or questions does today’s reading bring up?
Some of these notes are from the ESV Gospel Transformation Bible study notes. We highly recommend this study Bible.
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