This last Sunday (the 2nd Sunday in Advent) the OT reading came from the book of Malachi. Not too much is known about Malachi (I'm talking about you and me, not the theologians). He was the last prophet before those 400 years of silence when no word of God came to the prophets. He was the last one that said, "Thus says the Lord." That is, until John came on the scene. That was something else. But that isn't what we are going to talk about.
The reading was from Malachi 3:1-7. The sermon focused on 3:1 "See, i will send my messenger, who will prepare the way before me." We know now that was John the Baptist. But the people of Malachi's day didn't. They didn't know that they would hold onto that promise for the next 400 years, passing it down from one generation to the next. That promise would buoy them up when things were tough - such as when they struggled to rebuild the Temple which was the central focus of their worship. No Temple, no worship. When will that change? When the Messiah comes. When will He come? We will know when the forerunner comes. The messenger will come and then, everything will be all right.
Think of the excitement of looking forward to that messenger/forerunner. Has he come yet? When the rabbi starts to become something of a local celebrity by virtue of his teaching, the question would be asked, "Is this him? Could it be?" Waiting. Watching. Wondering. Three words that encompassed the lives of the people. They were waiting for that one to arrive. They were watching expectantly. They were wondering if it was time.
What about you? Do those 3 words describe you? Are you waiting? Are you watching? Are you wondering? Waiting for the Savior. Watching for His return. Wondering when it will be. Filled with a sense of wonder, are you excited that He could comes at any moment? (Advent = Come) Does Advent fill your heart will the excitement of the coming Savior? Are you watching expectantly for the moment when the clouds will part, the trumpet will sound and the Son of Man will come upon the clouds? Are you wondering when He will come (and making the best use of that time till He does come?)?
Get ready! He is coming! The forerunner tells us that. Who is that forerunner? John already came and did his thing. So why look for someone else? There is one that is preparing the way for the coming of the Messiah, the Savior. That one is right in front of you - quite literally. It is the pastor that God has given to you and your congregation. He is calling you to prepare your heart, prepare the way for the Lord to come to you.
He is coming! Don't doubt. Don't wait. Don't think you have another day. The ax is already laid at the root of the tree. Repent! Turn from your sins and bear fruit fitting repentance! He will come and you had better be ready. You are being called out of your life to follow the Lord. Ask yourself, are you ready?
Actually, I wasn't going to write any of that. More on Malachi tomorrow.