"The Sun of Righteousness will dawn on those who honor my name, healing radiating from its wings. You will be bursting with energy like colts, frisky and frolicking. And you'll tromp on the wicked. They'll be nothing but ashes under your feet on that day." Malachi 4: 2-3, The Message.
Firstly, I don't think 'the wicked' is necessarily referring only to people or even spiritual forces who stand against us. Adverse circumstances which we hate - sickness, feeling hampered from moving forward into our personal mission, anything that causes us to feel downcast and unhappy, I can quite easily consider 'wicked.' Agents that cause it may be human, spiritual or a combination. Anything that takes away our joy can fit the description, for the joy of the Lord is our strength.
Secondly, whenever I am worn out, physically, mentally or spiritually, and take time to sit back and figure out why, I often discover I've been unconsciously thinking if I don't take certain actions, all will be lost! Hopes and dreams will gurgle down the plughole! Health will deteriorate. Children will go to seed and become undisciplined. I walk around feeling as if holding everything together depends on me. Imagine a person who sets their face, believing that they can walk into the heart of a cyclone with arms outstretched, attempting to ward it off single-handed. Or think of Atlas, walking forever hunched and bowed beneath the weight of the whole world. That describes my attitude at times.
It explains the ache in my shoulders and neck, trembling in my limbs, churning in my stomach and intense fatigue in my whole spirit. At times I am exhausted with a 'fighting' mentality I am not supposed to have. I know the Bible refers to Christians as 'mighty warriors' but that is in Christ, not in our own strength.
So I started to ponder the passage above from the Book of Malachi. We all know ashes collapse with the tiniest contact. We hardly need to touch them, let along pound, prod, bash and attack, as is our natural instinct. Not only do they immediately collapse but they disintegrate into such a fine, grey powder that nothing remains. They may appear to be deceptively solid. After a BBQ or camp fire has finished, we see rock-like structures in the cold embers retaining their shape, but when we touch them they disintegrate into fine ash. The solid appearance was merely an illusion.
So is this passage from Malachi telling us that the 'wickedness' we perceive in our lives, these problems may be the same? What an incredible feeling of release we should feel if this is true. How do we come to a place where we can laugh at daily problems that are a part of life and treat them as the ashes we are told they are?
That will be the subject of my next post (Part 2) Remember, I've resolved not to make my blog posts too long :D I'll catch you in a few days.