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Friends in Christ Weekly Message
November 13, 2004

     Count on it: The day is coming, raging like a forest fire. All the arrogant people who do evil things will be burned up like stove wood, burned to a crisp, nothing left but scorched earth and ash - a black day. But for you, sunrise! 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.
Malachi 4:1-2 (Message*)

"Wolf and lamb will graze the same meadow,
     lion and ox eat straw from the same trough,
     but snakes - they'll get a diet of dirt!
Neither animal nor human will hurt or kill
     anywhere on my Holy Mountain," says God.

Isaiah 65:25 (Message*)

Ah, the prophets! Their words are so powerful. They don't mince words when challenging the powerful who refuse to obey God. They pronounce doom unflinchingly. But their words also soar when talking about God's promises to the faithful, and the glorious future which awaits when God's kingdom is realized on earth.

Malachi well exemplifies both the warning and the promise in this passage. He expresses both the certainty of doom for "the arrogant people who do evil things" and the certainty of glorious promise for "those who honor my name" (not the name of the prophet - prophets speak as the voice of God). For us, such prophetic words highlight the importance of the choices we make as to how we live our lives. We are put on notice that the way this world appears to respond is not the final story.

Isaiah powerfully expresses prophetic vision in his word picture of the world of peace which is to come. The transformation which is to take place is not only of humans but of all of creation. The violence so rampant in our day among humans and also in the animal kingdom will be replaced by a society in which "Neither animal nor human will hurt or kill." This is a vision we are to hold in our hearts today.

Do we truly listen to God's prophets, those who speak to us through the scriptures and those who speak in our time? Do we recognize the critical importance of how we choose to live our lives? Do we live in the reality of the vision of God's kingdom, that glorious future when no living creature will harm another?

Bill Samuel

* The Message version ©2002 by Eugene H. Peterson.

©2004 Friends in Christ, Inc.

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Document last modified on Saturday, 20-Nov-2004 17:43:09 EST