Sunday, November 13, 2016

God at work

Remembering is the theme at the beginning and end of Malachi. Remembering God’s promise to punish Edom (Mal 1:2–5), reflecting upon what God has done in this book of remembrance (3:16–18), and recalling an even bigger story involving Moses and Elijah (4:4–5 [Eng. 3:22–23]) offers hope for those who fear YHWH. This hope, in Malachi, is not a naïve optimism, but a reminder that God has not abandoned God’s people, even though the people have returned to acting much like the people in Hosea. Thus, judgment and hope remain in tension at the end of the Book of the Twelve, a tension that is never resolved, because it deals with the human condition and the relationship of humans to the deity. Those who fear YHWH, who remember what YHWH has done, and who turn to YHWH for help and strength, will find instruction and hope in the midst of life, while those determined to go their own way should know that this God of compassion does not leave the guilty unpunished. The great and terrible day of YHWH functions as both warning and comfort, depending upon what one has learned from this story (Mal 4:5 [Eng. 3:23]).—James D. Nogalski, “Recurring Themes in the Book of the Twelve : Creating Points of Contact for a Theological Reading,” Int 61 (2007): 136

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