"See, I am going to send My messenger, and he will clear the way before Me. Then the Lord you seek will suddenly come to His temple, the Messenger of the covenant you desire—see, He is coming," says the LORD of Hosts. 2 But who can endure the day of His coming? And who will be able to stand when He appears? For He will be like a refiner's fire and like cleansing lye. 3 He will be like a refiner and purifier of silver; He will purify the sons of Levi and refine them like gold and silver. Then they will present offerings to the LORD in righteousness. 4 And the offerings of Judah and Jerusalem will please the LORD as in days of old and years gone by. 5 "I will come to you in judgment, and I will be ready to witness against sorcerers and adulterers; against those who swear falsely; against those who oppress the widow and the fatherless, and cheat the wage earner; and against those who deny justice to the foreigner. They do not fear Me,” says the LORD of Hosts. 6 "Because I, Yahweh, have not changed, you descendants of Jacob have not been destroyed.
Verse 1 - I am going to send My messenger, and he will clear the way before Me. Then the Lord you seek will suddenly come to His temple, the Messenger of the covenant you desire—see, He is coming!
• This is a prophetic reference to John the Baptist, who prepared the way for Jesus to come.
• It refers to the custom of the oriental kings in that time period to send a messenger ahead of them before the king would come for a visit.
• The messenger’s job was two-fold:
• First, he was to remove any obstacles to the king’s coming.
• Second, he was to make sure they planned an adequate reception for the king when he arrived.
• What obstacles are in our lives that keep us from accepting Jesus as our Savior?
• If we have already accepted Jesus, what obstacles are keeping Him from being fully Lord and Master of our lives?
• What kind of reception would Jesus receive if He came to our homes today?
• What kind of reception would Jesus receive if He visited our church today?
• What kind of reception would Jesus receive if He walked down the Main Street of our community today?
Verse 2 - But who can endure the day of His coming? And who will be able to stand when He appears? For He will be like a refiner's fire and like cleansing lye.
• The people of Malachi’s day did not like the way God was running the world.
• They had accused God of not being just because God had allowed bad things to happen.
• They asked where God was during times of crisis. They doubted God was really there.
• Malachi reminds them that one day the Lord was going to come.
• When the Lord comes, He will set right all that is evil and wrong.
• Malachi then asks the rhetorical question, “Who will be able to stand on that day?”
• This is an important question to think through because we have all done wrong at some point in our lives.
• We often think it is others who will be judged, but we must realize that we too will be judged one day and our own weaknesses and faults will be dealt with.
• We may not like the Lord’s coming as much as we think we will!
• When the Lord comes, it will be like a refiner’s fire. Fire in any form sounds dreadful, but a refiner’s fire was unique.
• Think about the various types of fires that exist in the natural world.
• A forest fire rages out of control and destroys without concern for anyone or anything.
• An incinerator consumes whatever is put in it completely until nothing is left but dust.
• A refiner's fire refines. It purifies. It melts down a bar of silver or gold, separating out the impurities that lower the value. A refiner’s fire does not rage out of control or destroy what it touches. It is controlled by the refiner and has a clear purpose.
• After the process is complete, the silver or gold is more valuable because it is more pure.
• When we go through difficult times in our lives we often think God has abandoned us, but in reality God is purifying us and making us more valuable.
• Trials produce patience and patience produces maturity and maturity produces hope.
• Read Romans 5:3-4 and summarize those verses below:
• Read James 1:2-4 and summarize those verses below:
Verse 3 - . . . He will purify the sons of Levi and refine them like gold and silver. Then they will present offerings to the LORD in righteousness.
• Notice that the Lord will begin the purification process with the sons of Levi.
• In the Old Testament the sons of Levi were the priests and religious leaders of the community.
• In the New Testament each born again Christian is a priest before God.
• Though this was referring to priests in Malachi’s day, since we now live in the New Testament era, it refers to all born again Christians.
• When Christians are more pure in their faith, they are more useful to the Lord and to the community.
Verse 4 - And the offerings of Judah and Jerusalem will please the LORD as in days of old and years gone by.
• Once the purification process is over, then the offerings that people give to the Lord please Him.
• The offerings are no longer empty and meaningless because they are given with a pure heart.
• Take a moment and reflect on these questions: Do we offer our time, talent and treasure to God with a pure heart? Or are we looking for what we will get out of it?
• Malachi refers to day of old.
• We often refer to the past as the “good old days.”
• One of the reasons they seem so good is that we tend to forget the bad parts and only remember the good parts.
• When we have been purified by fire, the Lord helps us heal from the past and look back on it with joy.
Verse 5 - I will come to you in judgment . . .
• Judgment is often viewed as a negative thing in our society.
• But God’s judgment is always correct because He knows the whole story.
• God is not fooled by fast talking lawyers or legal loopholes. God knows the truth and when He judges, He takes it all into account.
• Judgment can be a good thing if we have done what is right.
• That is why we must confess our sins to God and receive His forgiveness, so that we can be right with God when judgment comes.
• Read 1 John 1:9 and summarize it below:
• If we have sincerely confessed our sins and repented of those sins, then we will not be judged for them. They are gone forever!
• How does that truth make us feel?
Verse 6 - Because I, Yahweh, have not changed, you descendants of Jacob have not been destroyed.
• Malachi pointed out to the people that the only reason God had not destroyed them for their sin already was because God had not changed His promises to them.
• God had promised to be with the people and help them and even though the people had broken their own promises, God had kept His.
• Thank God He is faithful to us when we are not faithful to Him.
• God is the God of the second chance, and the third chance and the ten thousandth chance.
• But one day, we will have our LAST chance and then all that will be left is judgment.
• If God is giving us a chance to turn from our sin right now and start doing right, we should not waste this chance.
• God sends people into our lives to warn us that He wants us to prepare to meet Him.
• God purifies His people through the fires of difficulty, but in the end, we are better people because of it.
• When we finally meet God, we will not be able to offer any excuses because God knows the truth.
• Therefore we should repent of our sin now and seek God’s forgiveness while we have the chance.
This is an excerpt from the book, Malachi: Finding Hope in the Midst of Adversity. It can be found on Amazon.