OT: Malachi 3:1-4:6
In today's reading was the only verse I had previously known from Malachi:
"Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,' says the Lord Almighty, 'and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it" (3:10).
For all my father's deistic leanings, he regards verses like these with an almost superstitious literalness. And I have to hand it to him, they have proven true in his life. He and my mom give to others with reckless abandon, and it does seem like God in turn rains down money on them. Knowing as much as I do about their financial situation, I can attest that some of their windfalls are almost absurd in their unlikeliness. So that's probably the biggest lesson my dad has taught me about faith. The idea that you should give beyond what you are able to seems borderline self-destructive. And yet, I have seen even in my own life that when you step out on faith, God catches you.
That's just one verse in our reading, though. The overall thrust of the text is that the day of the Lord is coming, where He will be a refiner's fire and a launderer's soap to the people (3:2). Those images are fitting for chapter 3, because the chapter seems to indicate that "the day of the Lord" referred to is more of a Jesus-level coming than an end times event. It seems that even with this day of the Lord, people will have a chance to be refined and cleaned, though those who reject God through their actions will not enjoy having their sinful deeds exposed.
In that same chapter, however, there is some "end times" imagery that you see in Revelation. For instance, the text refers to a "scroll of remembrance" that sounds very similar to Revelation's "book of life." Such imagery is continued in chapter 4, where it speaks of the wicked being burned, much like the lake of sulfur imagery in Revelation. There is also a passing reference to the "sun of righteousness," which might coincide with the imagery of God being an eternal sun for His people that is found in Revelation.
NT: Revelation 22:1-21
Today's reading concludes John's vision. He sees a crystal clear river of life flowing throughout the city; he sees Psalm-1-esque trees on either side of the river, which have leaves of healing for all nations; he sees God and Christ ruling on thrones in the midst of the city; and he sees that it is eternally daytime, as God Himself provides the light for this new world. All in all, it is a beautiful picture.
Then, John interacts with the messenger angel a bit more, and the angel reminds him that all of this is coming soon. The book closes with an invitation and a warning. There is an invitation for all who are thirsty and who desire God to "Come!" (17). And there is a warning against adding or taking away any words from the book of Revelation (18-19). I clarify that last part b/c these verses are often used as a warning against adding or taking away from the Bible as a whole (conveniently bound in the same "book"). I don't think we should add or take away from the Bible, but it doesn't seem like proper exegesis to me to apply this verse so firmly to all of Scripture, when it clearly refers to the prophecy of Revelation.
The book concludes with a wish for Jesus to come soon, and with a blessing on the readers.
A simple praise psalm, probably intended for worship in the temple.
Prov. 31: 25-31
The conclusion of one of my favorite sections of Proverbs.
I particularly love the image of a godly wife being "clothed with strength and dignity" (25). Today's passage also inspires me to "watch over the affairs of [my] household" and not to "eat of the bread of idleness" (27). That's a good reminder for today, because I woke up feeling lousy with a cold and would like nothing more than to eat of the bread of idleness today! But there is too much to do for that!