Malachi 3: The Lord whom you seek will suddenly come to His temple

(18 verses, 3:16 to read)

LISTEN and READ

What I am about to READ

  • Malachi prophesies about the coming Christ and the judgment He will bring at the end of the world.

MARK

  • v. 1-4: Malachi prophesies about John the Baptizer and the Christ.
  • vv. 5-15: Malachi prophesies about the judgment the Christ will bring.
  • vv. 16-18: Malachi prophesies about the final separation of believers from unbelievers in eternity.

LEARN

  • This prophecy in verse 1 is cited in Matthew,  Mark, and Luke as referring directly to St. John the Baptizer, who would be the final Old Testament prophet, pointing the people to the Christ. St. Luke’s Gospel picks up this theme, depicting Jesus in the temple at 40 days (Luke 2:22-38) and 12 years old (Luke 2:41-52). Even the Apostle St. John depicts the coming of Jesus to the temple early in his Gospel (John 2:13-22). Malachi’s prophecy predicted this close connection between the Baptizer and the Christ, proving that God is faithful to His promise.
  • The Christ here is called the messenger of the covenant. Just as in the covenant with Abraham, God is the one who both initiates the covenant and takes upon Himself the threats associated with breaking it. Though we have sinned, God punished His Son, Jesus, for our sins, that we might be counted as righteous in His sight. As the Father purified the sons of Levi for acceptable, so also Jesus makes the once and for all sacrifice for sinners by going to the Christ.
  • This prophecy also foretells Christ’s work as the final end times judge. God’s righteous anger over sin is on full display here. We must remember that God hates our sin and threatens to punish all who break His commandments. If we live our lives unafraid of the judgment God threatens to all who live as if His commandments do not matter, the perfect Law of God will be the standard by which we will be judged on the Last Day. God will hold up the mirror of His Law and show us our wickedness and how far we have fallen short of His demands.
  • God’s demands in the Law always remain the same. He does not change the expectations, so that when we are confronted with our sin, we know exactly where to turn for forgiveness. As the Old Testament saints looked forward to the Messiah, so we look to that same Messiah–Jesus Christ–who bears the punishment for us.
  • Finally, verse 18 seems to be a prophecy of what Jesus describes in Matthew 25, as the sheep are separated from the goats at the final judgment. This will be a public separation of those made righteous by faith in Christ and those who are outside of Christ and found guilty under the Law. Though we often cannot see the differences between those who serve Christ and those who do not due to our fallen nature, this will be made clear on the Last Day. This is a comfort to us especially, since we know that our own sins might cause others to doubt whether or not we belong to Christ. Our lives are hidden in His, and His blood covers all our sins so that the Father does not see them anymore.

MEDITATE

  • Prayer: O Lord, teach us proper fear of the return of Your Son in judgment, that we might not allow sin to rule in us. In the same way, teach us to lift up our heads, knowing that Your Son brings redemption and peace to all who trust in Him. Amen.

Thoughts? Comments? Questions? Post below, or join the conversation in our Facebook group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/dailybiblemeditation/

-Rev. Jordan McKinley, pastor
Trinity Lutheran Church, Vallonia, IN

Learn more about Trinity:
On the Web: http://www.trinityvallonia.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/TrinityVallonia
Twitter: @TrinityVallonia
Find our sermon podcasts through iTunes (Search “Trinity Vallonia”)
or at http://trinityvallonia.podbean.com/

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Revelation 20: The Binding, Releasing, and Final Judgment of Satan

Reposted from Rev. Stout:

(15 verses, 2:25 to read)

READ & LISTEN

What I am about to READ 

  • The Binding, Releasing, and Final Judgment of Satan.

MARK & LEARN & MEDITATE.

  • 1-3: Satan is bound for 1,000 years –  Jesus does this binding because He is the stronger man who bound the strong man (Matt. 12:29).  When the strong man is bound, his prisoners are released to the stronger man.  Jesus has released you.  You belong to Him.  Satan was bound through His death and resurrection.  The thousand years, as interpreted through other Scripture passages, is symbolic for God’s perfect length of time (Ps. 90:4; 2 Pet. 3:8) or complete amount (Ps. 50:10).  It is not literal.  This has traditionally been interpreted as the age of the church.  Satan is bound and his chain is short.  Yet, he will be released near the end of world.  Jesus is the One releasing.  He is the One who holds the key. The Church’s confidence is in Him even if they don’t understand all the “why’s.”  Jesus still holds the time of the resurrection in His hand and will bring to completion in the perfect time. “And if those days had not been cut short, no human being would be saved. But for the sake of the elect those days will be cut short (Matt. 24:22).”
  • 4-6: Christ’s reign with the saints for the same period of time – Both saints in heaven and saints on earth share in Christ’s rule and judgment.  Some of this is very mysterious.  However, we have confidence that Christ’s judgment is exercised through His pastors and Church when sins are forgiven from those who repent and forgiveness is withheld from those who refuse (Matt. 16:16-19; Matt. 18:18; John 20:22-23).  The verdict you hear through your pastor on Sunday is God’s verdict in heaven.  The absolution to give you a clean conscience is comforting judgment, not condemning judgment.  Christ’s gifts through His Word produce the first resurrection when we who were spiritually dead are made alive by His grace.  This is the comfort we cling as we wait for the bodily resurrection where we will be protected by Christ from eternal condemnation, or second death.
  • 7-10: Satan is released and the Church conflicts with Gog and Magog –  Like many Old Testament battles, you can imagine how unlikely it is that Christ’s Church will have victory when surrounded by such enemies.  But that is only if they were fighting the battle themselves.  It is then that Satan and his demons are cast by Christ, not into the pit, but into the eternal lake of fire.
  • 11-15: The Day of Judgment.  Christ’s saints are judged by His righteousness.  You are written in the Lamb’s book of life by His blood and the faith that was given to you.  Covered in Christ and by grace, we also receive credit for good works we have accomplished through and in Him.  We somehow get credit for producing fruit that was produced often without knowledge.  For many of the good works, we will ask, “When did we do these things (Matthew 25:37)?”  The answer will be found in loving, forgiving, having mercy, and providing for those through whom our vocations touch.  They do seem small and menial now, but they are precious in God’s sight, and sometimes also in the sight of those who are served.

Thoughts? Comments? Questions? Post below, or join the conversation in our Facebook group:  (https://www.facebook.com/groups/dailybiblemeditation/

Pastor Christopher Stout

Psalm 28: To You, O Lord, I Call

(9 verses, 1:12 to read)

LISTEN & READ

What I am about to READ

  • David prays and is heard

MARK

  • David, based on God’s promise to hear our prayers, calls out to God (vv. 1-2).
  • David prays for deliverance from and against his enemies (vv. 3-5).
  • David praises God for hearing His prayer and delivering him from his enemies (vv. 6-9).

LEARN

  • God commands us to pray. If a Christian does not call upon God’s name in prayer, he is guilty of misusing the Lord’s name. Prayer is one of the reasons God gives us His name—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit—in Holy Baptism. We also have a great promise from God that He will hear our prayers. Because of that, we need not fear any lack or death or hell.
  • David recognizes that he is not immune to the sins of those who surround him. Just like Isaiah confesses, “I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips.” This is dangerous for all Christians. We must guard our hearts and our minds from those things that would tempt us toward evil.
  • David’s enemies are hypocrites, speaking peace but carrying evil in their hearts. God, the one who renders judgment, sees into the hearts of sinful man. Thus our outward actions are not the only thing that is pleasing to God. Good works proceed from a heart that fears the Lord’s wrath and desires to do what He commands out love for God and neighbor.
  • David confesses where the strength to do God-pleasing works comes from: God alone. He is the strength of those whose hearts trust in Him. He saves His people, anointed by the Holy Spirit in the waters of Holy Baptism, enabling them, even in this life, to begin to fulfill the law of love. Even when we do fall short of God’s righteous law, Jesus, our Good Shepherd, bears us up and carries us by His saving power.
  • Luther links this psalm to the second and third commandments (prayer and worship) and the first and second petitions of the Lord’s Prayer.

MEDITATE

  • Prayer: God of all grace, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who knows the enemies of Your Church and are able to thwart all their designs; protect us against all tyrants, heretics, and hypocrites. Hear our prayer and grant us to love Your Word, to promote Your honor upon earth, and to continue in Your service always even to the end. Amen.

Thoughts? Comments? Questions? Post below, or join the conversation in our Facebook group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/dailybiblemeditation/

-Rev. Jordan McKinley, pastor
Trinity Lutheran Church, Vallonia, IN

Learn more about Trinity:
On the Web: http://www.trinityvallonia.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/TrinityVallonia
Twitter: @TrinityVallonia
Find our sermon podcasts through iTunes (Search “Trinity Vallonia”)
or at http://trinityvallonia.podbean.com/

Malachi 2: The Lord Accuses the Priests

(17 verses, 3:08 to read)

READ & LISTEN

What I am about to READ

  • The LORD accuses the priests of profaning His Holy Place.

MARK & LEARN

Here’s an outline of the chapter

  • 1-9, The LORD accuses the priests of corruption, and threatens to punish them (including the threat of spreading the dung of the sacrifices on their faces).
    • In 2:5 the Lord speaks of the purpose for which He called Levi: to bless the people with life and peace, and so that the people would fear God.
    • The priests are to teach (2:7), but they have led the people away from the Lord’s truth.
  • 10-17, The priests are accused of ungodly marriage, first in that they married pagan wives, and, second, in that they treat their wives poorly.
    • 2:14-17 speaks very clearly, especially to husbands, about the tenderness with which they should treat their wives.

MEDITATE

  • These priests and husbands are hearing the Lord’s law expose their sin. This passage, then, is a beautiful call to repentance, confess their sins and trust in the promise that the Lord had given them to preach. This preaching of repentance is also for us, that we would rejoice in the life and peace that Jesus has for us in the Gospel.

Lord’s Blessings,
Pr Bryan Wolfmueller
Hope Lutheran Church, Aurora, CO

Revelation 19: The Victory and the Victor

(21 verses, 1:55 to read)

LISTEN & READ

What I am about to READ

At the destruction of the harlot and the beasts, all of Heaven rejoice. Christ, the friend of sinners, reveals Himself as the faithful, true, and victorious champion.

MARK & LEARN

– At the declaration of the fall of Babylon in the previous chapter, the responding joyous celebration of 19 begins. The judgements of the Lord, that is, His Word, remain and prove in the end to be just and true. This brings us back to the beginning of the Revelation wherein Christ comforts the persecuted churches of John’s day and ours with the reality that regardless of what our eyes see, Christ the victor through His Blood and Word still remains in the midst of us. Because this truth never fails, the church still sings the song of Revelation 19 when her Bridegroom gathers her today! So we are the ones who are blessed because the Lord has declared us righteous by faith and thus given us free access to the marriage feast of the Lamb in His kingdom, which has no end.

– The later 1/3 of chapter 19 reveals Christ as already victorious because His word has been declared from ages past and His blood has already been shed. This is why the angel calls the carrion birds to feast on the enemies of God before the “battle” begins. This section clearly reaffirms the most powerful weapon the Lord has and, indeed, has even given to His Bride, the Church: His Word. This is what is used to defeat all of the enemies of Truth.

MEDITATE

Dear Father in heaven, we thank you that your love for us sinner is steadfast, and that you continually call us to repentance and are quick to forgive. In these last days, constantly remind us of your love for us in your Son, our victorious Savior, Jesus Christ. Remind us that in Him, you have given us your best and greatest and have even already won the victory over sin, death, the Devil, and our sinful flesh so that we might lead godly lives here in time and with you there in eternity. Amen.

Thoughts? Comments? Questions? Post below, or join the conversation in our Facebook group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/dailybiblemeditation/

-Pastor Weslie Odom

Psalm 27: The Lord is My Light and My Salvation

(14 verses, 1:55 to read)

What I am about to READ
  • This Psalm is a prayer of great confidence in the Lord in the midst of all sorts of trouble. It is one of the most comforting of all the Psalms.

MARK

  • The Psalm begins with a sermon extolling the Lord’s goodness, 27:1-6.
  • David then prays to the Lord asking for His help and kindness, 27:7-12.
  • The Psalm ends with a confession of faith (27:13) and a final charge (27:14).

LEARN

  • Consider the competing images of the Psalm. The Lord is a castle, a rock-solid protection in the time of trouble. In a wonderful mixing of images, David calls the tabernacle (only a tent, and certainly not a castle) his greatest protection. Our safety is in the Lord’s tent, not in the kings castle!
  • No matter the strength of our enemies, the Lord is our refuge and protector.
  • There is a lot of seeking in this Psalm. David is surrounded by his enemies, but he does not seek his own safety. Instead he seeks to dwell in the house of the Lord (27:4), and he seeks the Lord’s face (27:8). This is the hope that revives David, that he would see the “goodness of the Lord in the land of the living” (27:13).

MEDITATE

  • There are a number of beautiful verses to meditate on in this Psalm. Consider rereading especially verses 1, 4, 8-9, and 14.

The Lord is my light and my salvation;
whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the stronghold1 of my life;
of whom shall I be afraid?

Thoughts? Comments? Questions? Post below, or join the conversation in our Facebook group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/dailybiblemeditation/
-Pastor Bryan Wolfmueller

Malachi 1: False offerings = False worship

READ and LISTEN

(14 verses, 2:00 to read)

What I am about to READ

The Lord rebukes the priests for their polluted offerings.

MARK and LEARN

1:1 – “Malachi” could be the name of a person, or it could refer to an anonymous prophet, for Malachi means “my messenger”.

2-5:  Alluding back to his choosing of Jacob (Israel) over Esau (Edom) the Lord reminds Israel of his promise to love them and keep them (Gen 25).  Edom’s doom is pronounced in the Lord’s choosing of Israel, so that though Edom attempt to rebuild their cities and fortifications as Israel had done, they will come to naught.

6-14:   In these verses the Lord rebukes the priests for their careless worship of the Lord God.  The priests had thought that the Lord would not regard how they had used profaned offerings, blind, sick, or lame animals (vs. 8), or even stolen animals (vs. 13).  This was bad enough, but through their example the people were taught to despise the Lord’s table, that it really did not matter and that it could be neglected.  These wicked priests not only drag themselves down by their thoughtless and slovenly worship, but they drag down those whom they are to care for as well.  By their example they incite false belief and faithlessness among the people.

The Lord reminds them in his rebuke that the day will come when incense will be offered to his name all over the earth and not only in Israel (vs 11), a prophecy of the coming of the kingdom of Christ.  With this in mind, should not the priests offer their sacrifices with a faithful heart, in fear of the Lord who is a great King (vs. 14)?  Indeed in a mere 430 years from the wiring of this letter, the Christ would be born, who would be the faithful High Priest for us, and also the unblemished Sacrifice for the sins of the world.

MEDITATE
Lord Jesus, you are the great High Priest and Sacrifice for our sins. Help us to worship you in Spirit and in truth, not taking your preaching and sacraments for granted, but ever giving thanks for these gracious saving gifts which you give for our salvation.  In your Name. Amen.

Pax,

Pr. Brandon Ross

Faith Lutheran Church – Johnstown, Colorado