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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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

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

 

Revelation 18: Babylon Falls

Reposted from Pator Flamme

(24 verses, 2:22 to read)

LISTEN & READ

What I am about to READ

  • Babylon Falls

MARK

  • The mighty angel announces Babylon’s fall and judgement (1-8).
  • The kings of the earth lament Babylon (9-10).
  • The merchants lament her (11-17).
  • The sea traders lament her (17-20).
  • The mighty angel concludes with a sermon of judgement against Babylon (21-24).

LEARN

  • When I consider the image of the Babylon, a prostitute arrayed in sensuous splendor, and the words of judgement against her, it’s clear that she personifies the world that contends for your fear, love, and trust over and against Christ. You know her from her fruits; blasphemy, rebellion, sexual immorality, greed, covetousness, and an insatiable thirst for martyrs’ blood. She’s not the same as your corrupted flesh that wages war against the new man resurrected in your baptism. Nor is she another form of the devil. Nevertheless, the world, the flesh, and Satan are all in league with each other, conspiring to tear down both the order of God’s Law and the consolation of his Gospel. But the prostitute Babylon, like her allies, each finds her end and condemnation where Christ comes to judge.
  • In the time of St. John, Babylon was Roman society that demanded sacrifice to demon altars and participation in sexual immorality. Though one society gives way to the next, Babylon promises the same things today as she promised back then, and each one of her pronouncements is an attack on Christ. You know how our society demands conformity of our minds to the fiction of gender fluidity and the tolerant sexuality. You know how the world promises long life and security once you’ve surrounded yourself with wealth obtained by greed. You know that blasphemy is not only tolerated, but praised, and that the world gets drunk on the blood of the prophets and saints.
  • The words of judgement in this chapter are at the same time condemnation against the world that hates Christ, but also comfort for his saints (vs. 20). Though we suffer the world’s temptations and attacks in this life, we know that Christ has judged her and her days are numbered. When blasphemy, sexual immorality, and greed threaten to become our gods, we must pray the words of the Third Petition of the Lord’s Prayer, “Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven,” and trust that our heavenly Father hears us and will give us his Holy Spirit for Christ’s sake.

MEDITATE

  • Prayer: Merciful Lord, when the world tempts me with its transient pleasures, grant me strength to resist idolatry and faith to trust in Christ so that I may lay hold of the eternal pleasures obtained by his blood and merit. Amen.

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

-Pastor A. Brian Flamme

Nehemiah 13: Nehemiah’s Final Reforms

READ | LISTEN

(31 verses, 5:20 to read)

What I am about to READ

Enemies of God’s people tried to undermine the reforms of Nehemiah and Ezra in their absence. Nehemiah returned from Persia and by God’s grace led his people back to Moses’ laws and to serving the Lord. Nehemiah restored the Sabbath Day in Jerusalem and ended the practice of Jews marrying unbelieving Gentiles.

MARK & LEARN

  • There may have been an interval of about 15 years between chapters 12 and 13 of Nehemiah. The dedication of the walls probably took place in 444 BC. Nehemiah returned to Persia in the 32nd year of Artaxerxes, about 433 BC. After Nehemiah left, he may not have returned to carry out the reforms in this chapter until 425 BC. Accordingly, the words “on that day” do not refer to the dedication day of chapter 12 but to a day after Nehemiah’s return when he read the Book of Moses to the people again.
  • Tobiah, an Ammonite, had been given a room in the temple by Eliashib the priest. But God in the Law of Moses forbade Moabites and Ammonites from being involved in the worship life of Israel (Deuteronomy 23:3–6). Nehemiah ejected Tobiah from the temple, and everyone of foreign descent was excluded from Israel.
  • Nehemiah found that the Levites had not been given the physical support they needed, so they had to go back to their farms and make a living for themselves. Nehemiah rebuked the Jewish officials for their negligence. He reestablished the Law of Moses so that the people began to bring the tithe again. He installed trustworthy leaders in positions of authority who managed the storerooms and distributed supplies to the temple workers.
  • The context of this chapter is that Nehemiah had just returned from Persia. Because of the insidious nature of human sinfulness, Nehemiah had to make further reforms after abuses crept back into the worship life of God’s Old Testament people. In the first part of this chapter, Nehemiah had purified the temple. However, his work was not done.
  • The Sabbath day was being desecrated and violated. This was one of the sins that had led to the destruction of Jerusalem (Jeremiah 17:19–27). Nehemiah used his powers to forcibly end trade on the Sabbath. He locked the gates at sunset and would not open them again until the Sabbath was over.
  • A serious problem—one that had already been corrected—resurfaced. The people broke their promises (Nehemiah 10:30) and returned to the practice of intermarriage with their heathen neighbors. This sin was dangerous; it exposed the Israelite spouses to foreign gods, which often led them into idolatry.
  • Nehemiah rebuked those who were guilty of intermarriage and reminded the people of the devastating consequences of this sin. He expelled one unfaithful priest from his position in the temple because of intermarriage. He beat others and made them take an oath not to continue this practice. Drastic action was needed. Otherwise Jerusalem and Judea would again be liable for God’s judgment.
  • God’s people, beginning with the spiritual leaders, turned away from listening to and studying God’s Word.

MEDITATE

The book of Nehemiah reveals the devastating effects of compromise and cooperation with the enemies of God’s Word. This same thing can/does happen today. Christians may want to “fit in” with their unbelieving neighbors and avoid being the salt of the earth and the light of the world. Permissive attitudes toward sin may develop when church bodies compromise their doctrine and practice with other church bodies who have lost the truth of God’s Word. There is no compromise when it comes to God’s Word. If we find ourselves compromising His Word, inevitably  the very Gospel – Christ crucified for us – is at stake. We would do well to remember 1 Timothy 4:16 – “Keep a close watch on yourself and on the teaching. Persist in this, for by so doing you will save both yourself and your hearers.” 

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

Sub Cruce,

Pastor Kevin Zellers, Jr.

Nehemiah 12: Why Praise? Why Thank?

(47 verses, 4:27 to read)

READ & LISTEN

READ

  • The Bible reading describes the dedication of the wall and the praise and thanksgiving of God’s people and the meditation will ask, “Why praise God?”

MARK & LEARN

  • …1-26: The priests and the Levites are described.  Some of the Levites are in “charge of the songs of thanksgiving” (vs 8.) and others “stood opposite them.”  This describes antiphonal singing: one group sings (pastor, choir, pulpit side of church, etc) and another group sings a response.
  •  

    …27-43: The wall is dedicated.  Processions are described as well the home town of some of the singing groups.  Note the source of all thanksgiving and joy is God (vs. 43).  He’s not just the benefactor of thanksgiving, He’s the source of thanksgiving.

  •  

    …44-47: In the service of the temple, tithes were received so that the priests and Levites could be provided for.

MEDITATE

  • God is given the glory for the wall, the temple, and the protection of His people.  Praise and thanksgiving take us out or selfish, sinful flesh to receive God’s gifts in joy.  We thank God for His gifts because we have access to God through the gift of His Son, Jesus.
  • Consider some Luther in the Large Catechism: “they should be constantly urged and incited to honor God’s name, and to have it always upon their lips in everything that may happen to them or come to their notice. For that is the true honor of His name, to look to it and implore it for all consolation, so that (as we have heard above) first the heart by faith gives God the honor due Him, and afterwards the lips by confession…For this end it is also of service that we form the habit of daily commending ourselves to God…Thus, too, if any one meets with unexpected good fortune, however trivial, that he say: “God be praised and thanked; this God has bestowed on me!”
  • Consider also this John Kleinig article (http://www.johnkleinig.com/files/5913/2695/2261/Whats_the_use_of_praising_God.pdf)
    • …In this article, he points out some beautiful truths. Here’s a few:  1.) We don’t reach up to God through our praise and worship.  He descends to us in His Son.  In the Divine Service, He is present to receive our praise.  2.) Jesus is our true praise and worship leader.  He calls us brothers and is the perfect praiser and thanker of God for us and in us.  3.) Jesus is the source of our joy (John 5:11).  He gives joy and through faith gives us thanksgiving.

 

Thoughts? Comments? Questions? Post below, or join the conversation in our Facebook group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/dailybiblemeditation/ or if reading on facebook, check out the blog: https://rightlydividedbible.wordpress.com/

Christopher Stout, Pastor of Mount Calvary Lutheran Church, Kannapolis, NC & Abundant Life Lutheran Church, Charlotte, NC

Nehemiah 10: The Covenant Sealed

(39 verses, 4:02 to read)

LISTEN and READ

What I am about to READ

  • Nehemiah records all those who signed the covenant and reports what the covenant entails.

MARK

  • vv. 1-27 are the names of those who sealed the covenant.
  • vv. 28-39 detail what the covenant required of the people.

LEARN

  • A few of the name listed above may be recognizable if you’ve been keeping a close eye on Nehemiah so far. However, with this and many other name lists in the Old Testament, we often don’t know much about these folks. A wise pastor once remarked that these were like names on the tombstones of a church cemetery. We may not personally know them, but they are known by the God who redeemed them with the blood of His Son, Jesus, and called them by name.
  • The people took their oath before God very seriously, even calling upon themselves curses for not following it. We do well to remember not to take the Lord’s name in vein when making promises. It is best to let our yes be yes and our no be no. However, in those times when we do make promises in the Lord’s name (confirmation, marriage, and ordination all come to mind), we should clearly think through the implications of such an oath. God does not give us His name for us to lie or deceive or strengthen our own position at His expense. The promises made here were certainly godly, however. These were pledges made to be faithful to God’s Law, given originally through Moses. This Law pointed the people of old to the coming Christ, all the while revealing Christ to us in the Old Testament. For example, God separated out His people from the nations in order to produce the Savior of all nations–Jesus Christ.
  • The second group of pledges dealt specifically with the upkeep of the temple and the sacrificial system. The people recognized that these were the means by which God dealt with them and gave them the forgiveness of sins. In the same way, we know that the Gospel is free, but we do well to support faithful preaching and the right administration of the Sacraments in our midst, that the saving work of the Gospel may continue unabated.

MEDITATE

  • Prayer: O Lord, You are faithful to Your promises, and Your Word is never broken. Strengthen and keep us firm in Your Word and faith until we die, forgive us when we fail to do what we have promised, and fulfill what we are unable or unwilling to do. 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/