Here are the famous final words of the Old Testament:
“See, I will send you the prophet Elijah before that great and dreadful day of the LORD comes. He will turn the hearts of the fathers to their children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers; or else I will come and strike the land with a curse.” Malachi 4:5-6
One pastor, Steve Wright, observes, “Of all the ways that the Old Testament could have closed, notice how with laser accuracy it zeros in on one particular group–fathers” (ApParent Privelege, 135). The passage promises a messenger like Elijah who would bring reconciliation of family conflicts within the Jewish community. And it warns that the land will be cursed if the fathers do not respond to this messenger. But how will they be cursed? What is at stake if the fathers disobey?
Throughout the book of Malachi, the prophet has called fathers to turn in repentance toward Him and turn back to their community, their wives, and their families. The consequences are clear. By their actions, the fathers will either become a curse and source of warning for their children, or their repentance will be a source of blessing for their children. And their children will be claimed by God as godly offspring:
“If you do not listen, and if you do not set your heart to honor my name,” says the LORD Almighty, “I will send a curse upon you, and I will curse your blessings. Yes, I have already cursed them, because you have not set your heart to honor me. “Because of you I will rebuke your descendants” (Malachi 2:2-3a)
“The LORD is acting as the witness between you and the wife of your youth, because you have broken faith with her, though she is your partner, the wife of your marriage covenant. Has not the LORD made them one? In flesh and spirit they are his. And why one? Because he was seeking godly offspring. So guard yourself in your spirit, and do not break faith with the wife of your youth” (Malachi 2:14b-15)
God wants dads to reconcile with Him and with their families, because he has a claim on their children. He desires godly offspring. He wants the next generation to know Him and treasure Him, keep his commandments, and not forget him. And family conflict is an obstacle that gets in the way of kids knowing Christ. Conflict with your spouse can be an obstacle to your kids growing in godliness. Continue Reading…