Because I got behind this week, I thought I would write a little more on the beautiful close of the Old Testament (Covenant) and the passage of four hundred years of wait, then the glorious time arrives for Christ’s work here on earth. Here are a few more thoughts from this past week’s Cover to Cover.
Joel tells of a day when once again, the Lord says, “THEN they will know that I am their God.” For several reasons this breaks my heart. So many times, I have been shown the Lord’s glory, His power in my life, His mercy toward my wayward heart. And I still don’t act like I know every moment that He is my God. As we leave the Old Testament, perhaps this exhortation lingers most. I want to know, to act in obedience, to be filled with His available presence now and forevermore. As the pilgrims of Israel are about to experience four hundred years of silence, I can’t imagine having no significant interaction with the Lord, just hearing about His mighty works of old, knowing He was not only the God of my fathers, but my God. Joel ends with a time when things will be restored. Joel 3:18 “A fountain will flow out of the LORD’s house and will water the valley of acacias.” No more dry, desolate times. Living water will flow to the driest deserts. Acacia trees grew only in the most arid places, where water was scarce. Where is Living Water scarce in my life? As I look to be well watered, I look for the source; I find it in the Lord.
Everyone was upset that God wasn’t paying attention to their half-hearted sacrifices and the Lord answers in Malachi 2:14. “You ask, “Why?” It is because the LORD is acting as the witness between you and the wife of your youth, because you have broken faith with her, though she is your partner, the wife of your marriage covenant.” The Lord seeks faithfulness. How many ways do we break covenant with God, with our spouses, with respect to our Lord? Almost everything else takes precedence over our time with Him, the urgent trumps the important, the mundane trumps the extraordinary in our day. I must return to Him, and He will return to me. Everyday. I need to renew this covenant in my heart each morning. He is the Lord of my youth. I’ve known Him all my life. He deserves my whole undivided heart.
A day is coming, warns Malachi, when those who honor God will be justified. Malachi 4:2. “But for you who revere my name, the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its wings.” God’s comfort for the righteous is also a warning for the wicked and unfaithful.
The New Covenant
Luke 1:45 “Blessed is she who has believed that what the Lord has said to her will be accomplished!” Elizabeth’s Spirit-filled words to Mary must have comforted her fears, renewed her awe of the Lord, validated her worries of whether what all had happened was even a dream. She obviously believed and the Lord was pleased. Blessed is the woman who believes God’s Word and has the faith to know It will be accomplished.
As I read Zechariah’s song, tears came to my eyes. Zechariah, a priest, whose one chance of a lifetime to serve in the temple came, and there, God revealed Himself. There, after four hundred years of nothing. Silence. And after Gabriel saw his unbelief, silence again. The next time we see Zechariah, he is signing, “YES, PLEASE, name the child John. He’d had a lot of quiet time to think about that one. Then he sings for joy! Luke 1:67-80. He has lived long enough to see salvation come to His people. He has had the privilege of being at the center of God’s plan. He, Zechariah, an old man, knows his own child will be a prophet of the Most High, as Luke calls Jesus. Between Mary’s and Zechariah’s songs in this chapter, there is so much to learn about being a servant to the Most High. Worthy of a post all unto itself. I want to sing those words of adoration. I want that kind of faith. Both call me to higher belief.
Blessed be His Name. Our Deliverer is coming.