It is fitting that we should end the year by referring to the last chapter of the Old Testament, the fourth chapter of the book of Malachi. It is a very short chapter. It begins with a warning to the proud and the wicked, those who have not turned from their sins, and are not RightWithGod. It is a warning to them that that a day of judgement awaits them, “the day that shall burn as an oven”verse 1, when God will punish the unrepentant. God has given a clear command to “all men everywhere to repent” (Acts 17:30). That command is a loving command to from God, to sinners, to turn from their sins and to turn to Him while they have the opportunity.
Then in Verse 2, God addresses those who are RightWithGod, having repented of their sins, and received God’s remedy for sin, as promised in the Old Testament. They are addressed here as “you that fear my name”. Everyone who loves God has a genuine reverence for God, as the all-powerful One in whose hands all are as the ‘clay in the hands of the potter’ Jeremiah 18:6. Love for God and fear of God are always found together.
The promise made to them here is indeed wonderful: “Unto you that fear my name shall the Sun of Righteousness arise with healing in His wings”. The ‘Sun of Righteousness’ clearly refers to Christ in His second coming, when He will appear in His glory, to set up His throne of judgement, and to ‘divide His ‘sheep from the goats’ (Matthew 25:32, referring to believers and unbelievers). When the Lord’s own people see Him, they will be changed, healed of all sin and all diseases. Hence the words, ‘With healing in His wings’. For them, the words of Revelation 21: 4 will be the reality: “There shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.
As we now come to the end of another year, we look forward to a new year. We naturally wonder what the new year has in store for us. We cannot know the future, and we must not seek to know the future. We honour God by leaving that with Him. We must live in the present, and submit to God in the present. However, there is nothing wrong with having aims and goals, especially spiritual ones, as Paul expressed in Philippians 3. Perhaps you would like to know what mine are, so I will give you these. I pray that God will help me to walk before Him in true humility, and I confess that that does not come easily to me. I pray that God will enable me to understand more of the meaning of holiness, and to pursue it with vigour. I love Psalm 107 as a psalm which describes so much of the true christian life, especially the ‘way to walk’ mapped out for us in verse 7: “He led them forth by the right way, that they might go to a city of habitation”. This tells me that there is a ‘way that is right’ through this life for the believer to seek and to find. This seeking and finding must be done with prayerful searching of the Bible. It is to do, not just with what we do, but also what we are. Psalm 107:7 does not tell us the future personal details of the ‘way’, but it tells what the destination will be: “a city of habitation”, a place prepared specially for us by Christ (John 14: 2,3).
May you and I have a ‘good new year’, walking in the way that is right: a truly good new year.