“For behold, the day is coming, burning like an oven, when all the arrogant and all evildoers will be stubble. The day that is coming shall set them ablaze, says the LORD of hosts, so that it will leave them neither root nor branch. But for you who fear my name, the sun of righteousness shall rise with healing in its wings. You shall go out leaping like calves from the stall. And you shall tread down the wicked, for they will be ashes under the soles of your feet, on the day when I act, says the LORD of hosts.
“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.” – Malachi 4:1-6 (ESV)
James Montgomery Boice writes:
Because God is unchanging in His holiness and justice, it follows that the inevitability of His judgment upon the wicked is unchanging also. The final chapter of Malachi virtually shouts for us to see this, for it begins, “Surely the day is coming …” The judgment of God may be postponed. For the most part it has been postponed for the long years of human history – postponed but not forgotten. Delay is not elimination. Judgment will come.
The image of a furnace, used earlier (in 3:2), reappears in this portrayal. Earlier the image was used to describe a future work of purging or purifying, as a result of which God would cleanse His people and establish a generation of those who would live righteously and worship Him in truth. … It is a blessed thing for God’s people, though painful. However, the second use of the image of a furnace is quite different. Here the object of the burning is not purification but rather the destruction of the wicked: “‘All the arrogant and every evildoer will be stubble, and that day that is coming will set them on fire,’ says the LORD Almighty. ‘Not a root or a branch will be left to them.’”
But even here we find the same encouraging note we saw when considering the unchanged character of the people. Most had remained unchanged in their arrogance. But among them were those who constituted a genuinely godly remnant (Mal. 3:16). Here, even in the midst of a terrible reminder of God’s judgment, God nevertheless also speaks of those who “revere [His] name,” upon whom the “sun of righteousness” will rise with healing in its wings.”
MEMORY WORK – Shorter Catechism Q/A 64
Q. 64. What is required in the fifth commandment?
A. The fifth commandment requireth the preserving the honor, and performing the duties, belonging to every one in their several places and relations, as superiors, inferiors or equals.