“For behold, the day of the Lord is coming, burning like an oven. And it will burn them up, and it shall be that all foreigners and all who do wickedly will be stubble; and the day that is coming shall burn them up,” says the Lord Almighty, “and neither root nor branch will be left of them. But to you who fear My name the Sun of Righteousness shall arise with healing in His wings, and you shall go forth leaping as little calves released from their bonds.
From this passage, you know the old testament prophet was not speaking about Christmas as we know it. He wasn’t speaking of the First Coming. We know this because no one was burned up…certainly not the wicked! They are still with us!
So, Malachi had to be speaking about the Second Coming…right?
And if that is true, then I imagine we all want to be those who fear the name of the Lord…right? We wish to be those who go forth leaping like little calves released from bondage, and experience the healing of God…right?
Sometimes we become adjusted to our bondage. We become so comfortable in prison that we no longer realize we’re in prison. There are countless stories about prisoners who become so accustomed and adjusted to prison life, they will commit a crime in order to be sent back into their comfort zone.
Such prisoners don’t look forward to their freedom. They actually prefer bondage. Some have been in bondage for so long they are more comfortable in bondage and can’t imagine what they would do with freedom.
So many of us are also comfortable in bondage. We aren’t prepared – or preparing – to be released from our bonds. And if we fail to prepare, can we really say we fear the Lord?
This is the essence of our preparation: like a prisoner who knows his release date is approaching, we get our affairs in order so that nothing delays us when it’s time to get out of prison.
When we are about to be released from jail, we don’t do anything that might make us comfortable “on the inside.” We don’t get ourselves entangled in affairs that would extend our stay.
We start to make plans for life beyond jail. We consider what we will do with our freedom: how we will celebrate being free and also how we will ensure we remain free.
If you don’t have any experience with this, I invite you to go and seek the wisdom of a repentant prisoner who’s nearing release. You can reach out to the Warden or Chaplain of the nearest jail to make such arrangements. They hold salvific insights about what it’s like to look forward to freedom.