And the Lord whom you seek will suddenly come to his temple and the messenger of the covenant in whom you delight, behold, he is coming, says the LORD of hosts. – Malachi 3:2
Friends of ours complained about their hotel accommodations. They booked a weekend retreat at a distant hotel, longing for some peace and quiet. They were awakened at 6 AM on a Saturday morning to bell ringing and loud shouting. Jumping to his feet and terribly annoyed, the husband threw open the curtains to see a gathering of people dressed up in old-fashioned clothing. It was a town crier’s convention.
Long before phones, social media, or telegraph and printed newspapers, an important message would be sent via a town crier. He would shout aloud in the streets bringing news. For example, the Assyrian King Sennacherib sent a messenger, Rabshakeh, to King Hezekiah, to announce Jerusalem’s destruction (II Kings 18:19ff).
Nahum’s warning serves to remind the people of God of their own covenant with the LORD. The LORD is not some magical charm to keep them safe and allow them to do whatever evil they want to do and have His immunity. The LORD sends out His messenger of the covenant so that the covenant people—those who are under the binding promises of the LORD their God—will turn from their sins and obey Him.
The Gospel of Mark picks up this theme of a Messenger—John the Baptist is the final messenger of the Old Testament who tells the people to prepare for Jesus, the King of Glory. At the cross, the sins of believers are punished on the Person of Jesus. Those who reject Jesus will face God’s punishment in eternity.
Suggestions for prayer
Thank God that He continues to warn us so that people do not have to face His punishment throughout eternity; pray specifically for friends and family members who do not know the mercy of Jesus.
Rev. Richard T. Vander Vaart serves as a visiting prison chaplain in Moncton, New Brunswick for Redemption Prison Ministry. A few years ago he and his wife Carolyn became members of the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church. They both enjoy hosting friends for dinner and games nights. This daily devotional is also available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional.