Malachi ends the Old Testament with a prophetic declaration. He will send the prophet Elijah. The Old Testament ends with a "cliff hanger." More to come. The last word of the 39 books is "curse." Wow, what is up with that? Not so good news. Until we understand the "rest of the story."
The context includes the New Testament 400 years later. All four gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, John) introduce John the Baptist, who is a cousin of Jesus Christ. But what I want to highlight today is the connection of the Old Testament prophecy to Luke 1:17, he (John the Baptist) will go on before the Lord, in the spirit and power of who? Elijah. And his mission? To turn the hearts of the fathers to their children. The most common understanding is that he came to prepare the way for Jesus. Rightly so. That was his main purpose end of the curse.
But let's not overlook the turning of the hearts of the fathers. If you believe prophecy, and I do, and you believe we are a part of God's ongoing story of salvation until Jesus returns again, then it is fitting to believe we are seeing this prophecy being fulfilled yet today.
Pastor Jeff Hoverson
Fathers, dads, are turning their hearts. More and more attention and encouragement is being given to dads to lead their children spiritually. This, I believe, is at the heart of this prophecy. It is spiritual preparedness for Jesus. Ephesians 6:4 tells us, "Fathers, train up your children in the Lord." It does NOT say, "Fathers, drop off your kids at youth group, or confirmation, or even Sunday school, and let them do it." Emphatically, NO.
The Bible affirms what we are seeing. So, good for you, dad, if you are getting your kids to worship Jesus. Good for you, dad, if you are reading the Bible to your children. Good for you, dad, if you are leading them to Christ, making sure that their gifts from God are giving them purpose in the world.
Dads, protect your kids from the evil one, who wants to fill up their lives with things, other than what is from God. This means more than attending games and concerts and getting their homework done. Much more. It may even mean cutting out those things. This is about "turning your heart" toward them; and them toward the things of God.
Reflections, a mini-sermon written by Minot and area clergy, will appear each Saturday in The Minot Daily News. Clergy interested in writing a mini-sermon should contact Religion Editor Loretta Johnson at 857-1952 or Debbie Sandvold at 857-1950. The toll-free number is 1-800-735-3229.
Pastor Jeff Hoverson is the pastor at Living Word Lutheran Church, 720-46th Ave. NE, Minot.