“But the sun of righteousness will rise on those revering my name; healing will be in its wings so that you will go forth and jump about like calves in the stall.” Malachi 4:2 CEB
It happens every day—actually twice a day. We have never missed this daily ritual, not even once. It is something that is not only a daily routine, but it is completely necessary to sustain life. Human beings don’t usually get overly excited about this daily event. There are exceptions to this rule, of course, like birthdays and holidays. At our house the excitement is unable to be contained, twice a day. There is dancing around, jumping up and down, and even audible noises of excitement can be heard. What is this daily routine you ask? Twice a day we feed our two Bassett hounds, Beatrice and Bruno. Bruno is nine months old and simply cannot contain his excitement around meal times. You would think that it is the first time ever that someone has given him food. He dances around, voices his excitement, and jumps about when we are getting ready to set his food bowl on the floor. It is actually a lot of fun to watch. At two years old Beatrice no longer exhibits this type of behavior at meal time. She is cool, calm, and collected with a simple wag of the tail in acknowledgment of your kindness. Bruno is still a puppy and has not yet learned to contain his excitement. He lets you know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, he is SOOO happy you are giving him his food.
May I ask you a question? When was the last time you got that excited? The last chapter of Malachi states that the people of God will experience such a healing that they will “jump about like calves in the stall.” When was the last time you felt like jumping about? When we are younger we tend to get more excited about things. We may have even done some jumping about and acted like a calf in a stall, or Bruno at mealtime. We experience a lot in life and tend to come to a point where we settle into a routine. When we reach this point, nothing much seems to faze us. We wake up, eat, work, run errands, meet with people, eat, relax a little, and go to sleep. Each day we tend to repeat this same scenario. Where is Jesus within this routine? Are we noticing where Jesus is at work? Do we allow ourselves to get excited about what Jesus is doing? Or have we all slipped into the daily grind so much that we miss out on the opportunities to jump about?
In the context of Malachi’s time the people of God were falling away. Actually, they had settled for less than God’s best for them. They settled for the daily routines of mediocrity and the lackluster return on investment offered. This is what Malachi is sent by God to tell them in the last chapter of the book. Essentially, God tells them that the people who think their way is better than God’s way will experience the consequences of that choice. However, all of those who choose to follow God will experience healing and restoration. They will experience such a healing that they will not be able to contain themselves. They will look like baby animals who get excited about the simplest things like standing up, running, jumping, and even mealtime. These young animals take nothing for granted. Everything is an opportunity for excitement and appreciation. Malachi tells the people of God that they will experience a similar excitement. They will take nothing for granted and they will jump about in praise of all God has done for them. Sounds very exciting.
Our natural response to the work of Jesus in our life is praise. Praise can come in the form of excitement, jumping about, and taking nothing for granted. Have you experienced Jesus’s healing? Perhaps you have experienced Jesus’s physical healing through doctors, nurses, and medical staff. Maybe you have experienced Jesus’s relational healing through the restoration of a broken relationship. You may have experienced Jesus’s emotional healing with the help of a Christian Counselor, Stephen Minister, or prayer. Perhaps you have experienced Jesus’s spiritual healing through the ministry of the church, reading Scripture, or the prayers of other Jesus followers. In whatever way Jesus has been at work in your life, have you allowed yourself to jump about? Do you allow yourself to get excited and praise Jesus? Let us all make an intentional effort to get a little excited in our praise of ALL that Jesus has done for us, is doing for us, and will continue to do for us. Do your best “calves in the stall” impersonation. May Jesus Christ receive all the honor, glory, and praise in the name of Jesus.
This weekend at all four worship services we conclude the message series Malachi: The Messenger. Malachi was God’s messenger to people and priests who had lost their way. Malachi’s specific role was to help the people of God repent and return to the covenant God has made with them and to tell them of the promise of a new covenant. As we now know, this was in preparation of the coming of Jesus the Messiah and the New Covenant. This weekend we will discuss how God’s judgment and healing go hand in hand. I hope you will join us this weekend and every weekend. The best is yet to come for St. Andrew’s as we are on mission together. I can’t wait to see you in church!