We are all familiar with the power of a grand finale. At the end of a concert, the band saves the best for last. When watching a firework display on a holiday, you need to make sure to stick around for the end. The final words of the Old Testament are these:
Malachi 4:4-6: “Remember the law of my servant Moses, the statutes and rules that I commanded him at Horeb for all Israel. ‘Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the great and awesome day of the LORD comes. And he will turn the hearts of fathers to their children and the hearts of children to their fathers, lest I come and strike the land with a decree of utter destruction.’”
God is here summarizing the Old Testament and getting the last word. The principle is key – don’t fret about all the shenanigans on the planet as one day God will get the last word. God reminds us that Moses brought us the Law to reveal God’s holiness, our sinfulness, and our need for a Savior to meet the demands of the Law for us. God also reminds us that the prophets, like Elijah, remind us of God’s Law and call us to turn from and trust in our Savior.
The next major event in human history from this moment was the coming of John the Baptizer. He would be anointed and filled with the same Holy Spirit as Elijah from His mother’s tummy and would come to do heart surgery on men (2 Kings 2:9-10; Luke 1:15-17; Matthew 11:13-14; John 1:21).
God is saying that there are two kinds of people – those who are cursed and those who are blessed.
How do we know that a people group is cursed? The fathers do not have a heart for their children and, as a result, the children do not have a heart for their fathers. Practically, this looks like men who love sex but not God, marriage, or children. So, they worship sex as their god, use and abuse women, and murder their children. If their children live, they live without their father involved or invested in their life. This is what Jesus told some men in John 8:44: “You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning…” The old adage is true – like father like son and the devil’s boys look like their dad. Make no mistake, many, if not most, of our social problems would be solved by dads living, loving, and leading with the Father heart of God.
How do we know that a people group is blessed? The fathers have met God the Father, received a new heart that is the Father heart of God, and love their children like their Father loves them. This is the miracle that God does in the hearts of men. As men learn to become sons of the Father, they learn to father others starting with their own children.
If you get the men, you win the war. If you lose the men, you lose the war.
God ends the Old Testament with men, because change starts with men. God starts with men’s hearts because the ‘want to’ precedes the ‘how to’. Only when a man ‘wants to’ can that man apply the principles of ‘how to’ live, love, and lead like his Father.
The next stage of human history is now set. God does not inspire the writing of another book of the Bible and for 400 years, people wait for the Father to send the Son. Jesus Christ is the Son of God and revelation of the Father heart of God. Jesus turns our hearts toward the Father and gives men new hearts to love the Father and live in love like the Father. When this happens, the Kingdom of God begins to overtake the death of this world starting with blessing at home, flowing out to the church, and from there out to transform the culture that is cursed.