May 28, 2017
READ: Malachi 3:13-4:2
For you who fear my name, the Sun of Righteousness will rise with healing in his wings. And you will go free, leaping with joy like calves let out to pasture (4:2).
Someone close to me recommitted his life to God, began taking his wife and young daughter to church and was seeking to follow Jesus faithfully. Within weeks, however, his world began to fall apart. His daughter was admitted to the hospital with a chest infection, his business partner refused to pay him and his wife asked for some time apart. He looked drained and weary when I offered to pray for him, saying he’d rather not have any help from God. From the moment he’d chosen to serve the Lord again, he said it felt as if a huge target had been placed on his back and the Enemy was having a field day.
Can you empathise with this man? Perhaps you’ve served God faithfully for many years and yet still aren’t experiencing victory in certain parts of your life. In Malachi we see that the people of God had the same complaint. They asked, “What’s the use of serving God? What have we gained by obeying his commands or by trying to show the Lord of Heaven’s Armies that we are sorry for our sins? From now on we will call the arrogant blessed. For those who do evil get rich, and those who dare God to punish them suffer no harm” (Malachi 3:14-15).
The reality? God’s promise to those who fear Him is that “the Sun of Righteousness will rise with healing in his wings. And you will go free, leaping with joy like calves let out to pasture” (4:2). Be encouraged today as you continue to fear God and honour His name. Though things might seem bleak and your heart may be heavy, trust in Him. He alone can provide joy, peace and hope even during difficult days. By faith, you can “overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit” (Romans 15:13).
—Ruth O’Reilly Smith
365-day plan: Daniel 1:1-21
Read Psalm 73:1-28 and note the Psalmist’s frustration at seeing evil people prosper, but also how he concludes the Psalm with his hope firmly in God.
Have you become discouraged while you struggle with life’s challenges? How does it encourage you to know that God is yours forever and remains the strength of your heart?