The last book of the Old Testament contains the last words of the prophets as provided by God to the nation of Israel. A silence that would last for around four centuries. A friend of mine, with a twinkle in his eye, likes to refer to the man who wrote the book as the “Italian Prophet.” His pronunciation of the name Malachi is more Italian than Hebrew. Kidding aside, however, there is no question that Malachi was not one to mince words. He packed a lot into this short little book. It is well worth one’s time to read and study.
A few months ago, I was reminded of Malachi’s message during a meeting with some dads. A couple of the more mature and experienced dads were sitting on a panel that day responding to questions. One of the questions asked was “What Scripture verses or stories from the Bible have you found to be helpful in your role as a dad?” The first dad up to answer referred to the last two verses of Malachi, Chapter 4, verses 5 and 6 which states: “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.” For this dad, he found these words to hold great wisdom and guidance. He turned his heart toward his children to help them grow in their walk with God. Powerful words, powerful impact.
It’s interesting to note these last words of the Old Testament are found again, 400 years later in the New Testament. Words spoken, not just for the nation of Israel, but for all of mankind. They are spoken by the angel Gabriel in his words to Zechariah, the father of John the Baptist. (Luke 1:17) They are not the only words spoken to Zechariah by Gabriel but their inclusion speaks loudly of their importance, “to turn the hearts of the fathers to their children…” Dads are important. Critical to God’s work in and through families. Essential to the generations yet to come. The lead “link” in the chain.
As we approach Father’s Day this year, the need for Malachi Dads is great. Like the men I spent time with in March. Men whose hearts are turned toward their children. To raise them up in the training and admonition of the Lord. (Ephesians 6:4)
So how do we turn our hearts toward our children? The Bible provides a wealth of wisdom here, but perhaps beginning with prayer is a good place to start.
– Pray for your children – when we pray for our children our hearts are turned toward them. Pray Scripture for them. The following link provides 10 Scripture verses you can pray for your children.
– Pray with your children – doing so is the opportunity to share your own faith with your children as you talk with God. In doing so, you are teaching them how to pray and worship God.
The praying Dad is a Malachi Dad…living out the words spoken over 2,000 years ago. His children will be blessed.
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"And he saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men." Matthew 4:19
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