It has probably happened to you a time or two: a smoking oven. It seems it often occurs when there is something spilled in the bottom of the oven, and it goes unnoticed during baking. So, someone puts brownies into the oven to bake, and unbeknownst to them, there is some grease on the bottom of the oven from last night’s fish bake.
Suddenly, there is smoke pouring out of the oven. Most of the time, it goes unnoticed. That is until the smoke detectors go off in the house! Suddenly, there is a flurry of activity: turn on the ceiling fans, open the doors, open the windows, and turn on the exhaust hood fan. Someone is also assigned the job of waving a dishtowel in front of the smoke detector to try and convince it that the house is not on fire, and it can simmer down.
Here’s the thing to notice: With the smell of smoke and the sound of the smoke detectors, everyone springs into action. With the loud ringing in our ears and stinging smoke in our eyes, we instinctively know we must do something.
Moved to action is also the point of the prophet in Malachi 4:1, “For behold, the day is coming, burning like an oven, when all the arrogant and all evildoers will be stubble.” The warning is alarming. The prophet wants all those who are living for themselves and not for the Lord to heed his warning. The oven is smoking, and the prophet is the alarm – they must do something!
What needs to be done to avoid the judgment predicted by the prophet? It is simple, fear the Lord. To fear the Lord is not to live in terror of Him. To fear the Lord is to recognize that He is God, His ways are best, and any who oppose Him do so at their own peril.
Anyone who has ever tried to live for the Lord learns very quickly that it is impossible to follow God in our state, weakened as we are from sin’s curse. But to fear the Lord is to seek Him, nonetheless, knowing that in the end, it is only because of His grace demonstrated by Jesus on the cross that we can know Him and avoid judgment.
So, knowing that great Day of the Lord is coming, and the scriptures have sounded the alarm, how then should we live today? No, we won’t live perfectly. But we can seek Him. We can love Him. We can pray, hope, love, and worship Him, knowing that moment by moment, it is His grace that carries us.
I look forward to being with you this Sunday as we celebrate the work of God in Jesus Christ together! This Sunday, we will be seeking God through His Word in Malachi 4:1-3.
See you Sunday,