W.I.S.H. – Weekly Insights for Spiritual Health 01-12-2022
Read: Malachi 4:1-2
“See, the day is coming, burning like an oven, when all the arrogant and all evildoers will be stubble; the day that comes shall burn them up, says the Lord of hosts, so that it will leave them neither root nor branch. 2 But for you who revere my name the sun of righteousness shall rise, with healing in its wings. You shall go out leaping like calves from the stall.”
We continue our series of “names for Christ” with “Sun of Righteousness” The prophet Malachi gives us this image in the context of a “day of the Lord”. The phrase “day of the Lord” is used in a few different ways in the Bible. Sometimes it’s good news, like on the day of Pentecost when the Holy Spirit was given, Peter says “this is what the prophet Joel foretold” (Acts 2). And sometimes the day of the Lord is a day of judgement (any day of judgement, not necessarily THE day of judgement). That’s the context for the prophet Malachi’s words to the people, and in this instance it’s both bad news to the wicked and good news for the righteous. Interestingly, the image of fire also has dual meaning in the scriptures. Positively the image of fire is a purifying “refiner’s fire” or it’s the gift of the Holy Spirit; conversely fire is an image for judgement and consuming destruction.
In this passage Malachi foresees the coming of the “Sun of Righteousness”, (and it is S-U-N) as the day of the Lord. There is both judgement and blessing in this prophecy. “Sun of righteousness” is an image; this passage is filled with images. Images can be tricky to interpret, they are not literal. The Sun rises in the new day like a great bird, thus “healing in its wings”, as rays shine forth bringing light ad healing. That’s the inspiration for Charles Wesley’s lyrics in “Hark the Herald Angel Sings”, when he writes in verse 3, “Hail the heaven-born Prince of Peace! Hail the Sun of Righteousness! Light and life to all he brings, risen with healing in his wings…” Light, truth, righteousness, and healing. It is good news, indeed.
Finally another image for us, and about us: “You shall go out leaping like calves from the stall”. I like that. The energy, enthusiasm and eagerness of a young calf to stretch its legs and use its emerging strength. I’ll take it! It’s been a few years since I’ve had that kind of energy!
Pastor Rob Nystrom