MALACHI 3:1-4:6 | REVELATION 22:1-21 | PSALM 150:1-6 | PROVERBS 31:25-31
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Continuing in the book of Malachi, we learn that the nation of Israel seems to have a short memory, and needs constant reminding of her part of the bargain with God.
They’re back from exile in Babylon, but a hundred years is all it takes for them to begin to short-change the Lord by way of their substandard sacrifices in the Temple. What’s worse is that their own priests are engaged in this abhorrent practice of bringing imperfect animal sacrifices.
Like God really needs them in the first place! Nevertheless, it is the principle of giving to God the first-fruits, the tithes, and the animals without blemish as the requisite offerings, is what matters.
But where there is no love, the gift becomes meaningless. And so, God sends a messenger to them yet again to remind them that these gifts are not acceptable.
And yet, Malachi tells us that God says: Return to Me, and I will return to you. What manner of love is this?
In the latter parts of these chapters, there is a foretelling of the Messiah, Jesus Christ, who is to be introduced by a forerunner, John the Baptist some 500 years later. Only, as we know with hindsight, the people will not accept him as the Messiah, further confounding their fate.
We have now approached the ending of the Book of Revelation, and John bears account in this chapter of the River of Life flowing from the throne of the Lamb of God right down through the middle of the city. The Tree of Life is also situated here, and it is indeed Eden restored. What beauty, peace, and perfection!
And yet again, an angel reminds John that the angel himself is not to be worshiped; it is only the Lord God Almighty who is worthy of our praise and worship.
In conclusion, John writes about the warning he receives of the contents of the scroll: 18 I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this scroll: If anyone adds anything to them, God will add to that person the plagues described in this scroll. 19 And if anyone takes words away from this scroll of prophecy, God will take away from that person any share in the tree of life and in the Holy City, which are described in this scroll. 20 He who testifies to these things says, “Yes, I am coming soon.” Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.
Today’s Psalm 150 is one that I was made to memorize as a child, and know by heart to this day. I reproduce it here in its entirety in the King James version (KJV) in which I learned it:
1Praise ye the LORD. Praise God in his sanctuary: praise him in the firmament of his power.
2Praise him for his mighty acts: praise him according to his excellent greatness.
3Praise him with the sound of the trumpet: praise him with the psaltery and harp.
4Praise him with the timbrel and dance: praise him with stringed instruments and organs.
5Praise him upon the loud cymbals: praise him upon the high sounding cymbals.
6Let every thing that hath breath praise the LORD. Praise ye the LORD.
The last reading from the Book of Proverbs is the remainder of the account of the definition of the virtuous woman. It is a timeless testament to the qualities of a good woman no matter her national origin, and bear reproduction here in whole:
25 She is clothed with strength and dignity;
she can laugh at the days to come.
26 She speaks with wisdom,
and faithful instruction is on her tongue.
27 She watches over the affairs of her household
and does not eat the bread of idleness.
28 Her children arise and call her blessed;
her husband also, and he praises her:
29 “Many women do noble things,
but you surpass them all.”
30 Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting;
but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.
31 Honor her for all that her hands have done,
and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.
May God bless the reading and reflection of His Word. Amen.