This passage give us hope and challenges us. As the last prophetic Word God would give to the Israelites it is a combination of the ‘Carrot & The Stick’. While God is chastising His people He is also pointing them to great hope in His Messiah.The part of Malachi message we are looking at today gives us great insight into God’s redemptive plan through Jesus the Messiah.
It begins with the human tendency to doubt God’s justice based on what we can see. We see evil people ‘prosper’ in this world and wonder why God allows the systematic oppression that happens at the hands of those who do not believe in Him. What they, and we, can fail to see is that God has a plan of judgement and redemption…And He has revealed it to us…But His timetable for this plan is not revealed, not meant to be revealed…It is to remain a matter of faith! Jesus made it plain as to when His 2nd advent would occur: “But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.” ~ Jesus @ Matthew 24:36
We know it is coming, we know what is going to happen… we just don’t know when. The challenge is; are we ready for that day? Do we belong to Christ and if so are we living as HE would have us live? This passage guides us as to what we are to DO TODAY as Christ’s ‘Purchased People’, trusting that CHRIST WILL RETURN one day to bring HIS perfect justice to this world.
Malachi 2:17-3:5 (NLT)
17 You have wearied the Lord with your words. “How have we wearied Him?” you ask. You have wearied Him by saying that all who do evil are good in the Lord’s sight, and He is pleased with them. You have wearied Him by asking, “Where is the God of justice?”
- Words ultimately reflect attitudes
- “What you say flows from what is in your heart.” ~ Jesus @ Luke 6:45b
- God is frustrated, worn out by the attitude of His people at this time
- 1:2 They don’t believe God has always loved them
- 1:6 They don’t believe they have shown contempt for His reputation
- 1:7 They don’t believe they have defiled the sacrifices
- 2:14 ‘why doesn’t the Lord accept our worship’ while they violate marriage
- Now they make two false accusations against God and He is getting weary…
- He wants to partner with His people for His glory and this is what He gets…
- Faithless hearts and fruitless living: Rebellion!
1 “Look! I am sending My messenger, and He will prepare the way before Me. Then the Lord you are seeking will suddenly come to His Temple. The messenger of the covenant, whom you look for so eagerly, is surely coming,” says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies.
- ‘Look’ or ‘Behold’ often proceeds a prophetic word from The Lord
- Jesus @ Matthew 3:3: The prophet Isaiah was speaking about John when he said, “He is a voice shouting in the wilderness, ‘Prepare the way for the Lord’s coming!’
- Then the Christ [The Lord you are seeking] will then be found in HIS Temple
- Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? ~ 1st Corinthians 6:19
- The [hoped for] Messiah was to be the ‘Messenger of the Covenant’
- Jesus @ Matthew 26:28: “This is My blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.
2 “But who will be able to endure it when He comes? Who will be able to stand and face Him when He appears? For He will be like a blazing fire that refines metal, or like a strong soap that bleaches clothes.
- Are you ready for this, faithless, fruitless Judah?
- Dual aspect of ‘when He comes’… a prophetic mixing of the two advents
- In His 1st coming He challenged the religious authority calling for refinement
- When HE returns it will not be a call to refinement, but a final judgement of evil
- In His 1st advent He transforms those who will honestly face Him
- We cannot remain the same and follow Him
3 He will sit like a refiner of silver, burning away the dross. He will purify the Levites, refining them like gold and silver, so that they may once again offer acceptable sacrifices to the Lord. 4 Then once more the Lord will accept the offerings brought to Him by the people of Judah and Jerusalem, as He did in the past.
- The use of the term ‘sit’ speaks of a patient process [that is happening now]
- Purifying the Levites: raising up leaders of who model acceptable sacrifice
- Christ now accepts the offering of a poor spirit and a contrite heart
- Romans 12:1: And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him.
5 “At that time I will put you on trial. I am eager to witness against all sorcerers and adulterers and liars. I will speak against those who cheat employees of their wages, who oppress widows and orphans, or who deprive the foreigners living among you of justice, for these people do not fear me,” says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies.
- A better rendering of initial phrase: Then I will draw near to you for judgment…
- While Christ is patient in His refinement, He is also swift to bring judgement
- He details what the Israelites think He is blind to [verse 2:17]
- It is a summary of the evil that God is being accused of not care about
- The people at that time were saying: ‘Where is the God of Justice’?
- God says: ‘I am going to deal with these people who do not fear me’
- And again He calls Himself ‘The Lord of Heaven’s Armies’ [Confrontation]
After all that God has demonstrated about Himself, it wears Him out that His people do not trust in His justice and believe He is good with those who do evil. God is frustrated by the faithless words and fruitless lives of those He has chosen to be HIS.
God foretold He would send one to prepare the way for Himself, John the Baptist. Then God Himself [Christ] will come and ultimately inhabit His temple,[His people indwelt with His Spirit]. The Messiah is surely coming! This is about His 1st Advent.
We must relinquish our claim on our lives in order to belong to Christ. He comes to refine and redefine those He calls. He is patient to do His work in Us. He will change His new ‘priesthood’ and teach them how to sacrifice in an acceptable way [lay down your life].
The justice Judah was looking for will come with the second advent. But are they ready for it? Rebellion against God that leads to systematic oppression will be put on trial. Those who do not reverence the Lord of Heavens armies will face HIS swift justice.
Does the oppression and injustice of our world make you doubt God’s goodness and justice? How do you prevent that attitude from infecting your view of God?
Are you convinced you cannot belong to God without radical change and refinement? Can you see how belonging to Christ means then end of you running your life?
What needs to change to make your life an acceptable sacrifice too God?
How can you follow Christ by witnessing against the systematic oppression that God will surely judge?
For once you were full of darkness, but now you have light from the Lord. So live as people of light! For this light within you produces only what is good and right and true. Carefully determine what pleases the Lord. Take no part in the worthless deeds of evil and darkness; instead, expose them. ~ Ephesians 5:8-11 (NLT)