Daily Encouragement: Year 2, Day 243

From Handbook to God’s Promises


Rewarded for Reverence
(Malachi 4:2)

Sometimes metaphors in the Bible are lost on modern people—especially images that have to do with agriculture and animals. But in the biblical world, especially in the Old Testament age, such images were common and instructive.

Anyone who has spent time on a farm has smiled at the sight of young calves at play—especially when they first come bounding out of the barn. On legs that seem semi-locked at the knees, they almost bounce across the fields as they frolic in their newfound freedom. A cool morning, unlimited pasture, nowhere to go and nothing to do but eat and frolic, eat and frolic, and eat and frolic some more. Complete freedom mixed with boundless cow-joy is the life of the calf. Watching calves play brings one kind of smile, and reading about them in God’s own words brings another.

Through the prophet Malachi, God said that a day of judgment is coming—the day of the Lord (Mal. 4:1, 5). More than a twenty-four-hour period (although it will happen at a particular time and place), the day of the Lord is that final culmination of events in which God will judge and reward humanity. While it is a day to fear for the “arrogant and . . . evildoer” (v. 1), those who have revered the Lord will be on that day like “calves [released] from the stall” (v. 2). The “sun of righteousness” (a metaphor for Jesus) will warm the fields of heaven, and the righteous will go out and “skip like calves” in the pure pleasure of boundless bliss and fenceless freedom.

Would God have pictured those who fear Him as frolickers in heaven if He Himself were not happy for us? It is a sign of His great love, and the rewards that He has in store for those who have revered His name, that He speaks in such endearing terms about the happiness our future holds.

If you have never seen a calf come frolicking out of its stall into the fields, find one to watch. The smile you cannot stop is the smile that will never stop when you enjoy the rewards God has for you in heaven.

God’s Promise:
It gives Him great joy to plan great joy for those who revere His name.