December 22, 2023
Picture: Rising Sun of Righteousness
Malachi 4:1-3; Luke 1:76-79
Almost 100 years had passed since the Hebrews had reoccupied Jerusalem. They had gone through the rigors of rebuilding walls and reconstructing the temple. But the voices of the prophets and their message of future hope, prominence, and success felt like a cruel joke. All they knew were trials. They were haggard from strangers settling at the outskirts of their land. They resented the fallow ground that couldn’t produce the crops they needed to survive. They were disillusioned by the priests who refused to teach the word of God and the rich who oppressed the poor. In the midst of their malaise, God gave the prophet Malachi a message. He confronted the abusers, idolaters and priests. Then, in some of the final words of the Old Testament, God through Malachi etched hope into the horizon of history.
“For behold, the day is coming,
Burning like an oven,
And all the proud, yes, all who do wickedly will be stubble.
And the day which is coming shall burn them up,”
Says the Lord of hosts,
“That will leave them neither root nor branch.
But to you who fear My name
The Sun of Righteousness shall arise
With healing in His wings;
And you shall go out
And grow fat like stall-fed calves.
You shall trample the wicked,
For they shall be ashes under the soles of your feet
On the day that I do this,”
Says the Lord of hosts.
Malachi 4:1-3 (NKJV)
Israel would vacillate between faithlessness and renewal for 400 years as they waiting for this rising sun. While they had been led astray by their religious leaders in the past, the voice of the Priest Zacharias would be the one God used to identify the dawning of the coming King.
“And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Highest;
For you will go before the face of the Lord to prepare His ways,
To give knowledge of salvation to His people
By the remission of their sins,
Through the tender mercy of our God,
With which the Dayspring from on high has visited us;
To give light to those who sit in darkness and the shadow of death,
To guide our feet into the way of peace.”
Luke 1:76-79 (NKJV)
The word day spring is only used two times in scripture and it simply means rising sun. Jesus is the Rising Sun of Righteousness. His light pierces the night of our souls, exposing our sin, and lighting the way to peace. At Christmas, we celebrate the dawning of marvelous light and the ability to walk in light rather than darkness.