4 “For behold, the day is coming, burning like an oven, when all the arrogant and all evildoers will be stubble. The day that is coming shall set them ablaze, says the Lord of hosts, so that it will leave them neither root nor branch. 2 But for you who fear my name, the sun of righteousness shall rise with healing in its wings. You shall go out leaping like calves from the stall. 3 And you shall tread down the wicked, for they will be ashes under the soles of your feet, on the day when I act, says the Lord of hosts.
4 “Remember the law of my servant Moses, the statutes and rules that I commanded him at Horeb for all Israel.
5 “Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the great and awesome day of the Lord comes. 6 And he will turn the hearts of fathers to their children and the hearts of children to their fathers, lest I come and strike the land with a decree of utter destruction.”
You don’t allow unrighteousness to persist forever. Your righteous and legendary patience does eventually come to an end. Justice and wrath will at some point descend. It will come in a day of blazing fire.
At times, we misread your patience as license. We misread your forbearance as permission. We even misread it as blessing.
This passage reminds us that even though it may appear at times as though our sin goes unpunished, the wickedness of the world goes unchecked, you will bring justice and righteousness condemnation down upon those who hold fast to their denial and rebellion of you.
This is both comforting and terrifying to us, Abba.
It is comforting because it reminds us that the suffering we endure at the hands of the adversary and his servants; the suffering we endure at the hands of the wicked, will not go unrecompensed. Perfect justice will be executed and you make all things right. Your perfect justice and righteousness will not be thwarted. May we not mistake your patience, which permits man to respond in repentance, as indifference, license, or blessing. But we see it for what it is…your desire to give man time and opportunity to repent.
2 Peter 3:8–10 (ESV): 8 But do not overlook this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. 9 The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance. 10 But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a roar, and the heavenly bodies will be burned up and dissolved, and the earth and the works that are done on it will be exposed
What a heart, Abba! You provide man the opportunity to avoid this fate, to repent and turn away. This blaze that will descend and reduce all evil doers to ash, destroying root and branch, does not come in an instant. It comes at the end of your patience; at the end of a long awaited period, in which every opportunity for repentance is now exhausted.
This is why, not only should be truth be our comfort, but it should be terrifying to us. Lest we take for granted and abuse your patience, we ought to be urgently and compassionately warning those living in rebellion to you of what is to come. We ought to be highlighting, living, proclaiming, and displaying your glorious beauty of the gospel to them and urging them to repent and turn away!
BUT OH, what a glory awaits those who fear you!
They will rise with healing in their wings…
They will go out leaping…
They shall tread down the wicked…
There is healing
There is joy
There is victory
Your promise to those faithful in Israel; your promise to us throughout scripture is that of hope, joy, peace, a celebration of victory that is brought as you fulfill your promises and bring healing to your people. It is the promise that we cling to; that we run to; that we hold fast to during the storms of life. One day, we trust that your justice will in fact descend and you will set all things right. We long for that day, we crave and desire it!
May we remain faithful in our waiting for that day to arrive.
As verse 4 says, may we always remember.
Forgetfulness breeds rebellion and idolatry.
May we always remember You and Your works lest we develop an unbelieving heart and fall away revealing the absence of true faith. In the period of waiting; in the silence of your patience, may we see and be strengthened in our faith, our devotion, our desire for you. May we continue to walk worthily of your grace. May we celebrate your patience and redeem the time by calling us to repent and come to you.
When you do come, may we be found faithful. May we be found busy. May we be found trusting you. May we be found worthy of those precious words, “Well done thou good and faithful servant. Enter into the joy of your master.”
Thank you for your word, Abba. Thank you for showing yourself to us. May we see a little more everyday of who you are and be compelled to walk in faith and obedience.
We love you, Abba.