“But who can endure the day of His coming? And who can stand when He appears? For He is like a refiner’s fire and like a launders’ soap. He will sit as a refiner and a purifier of silver; He will purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer to the Lord an offering in righteousness.” (3:2-3)
The prophets had two main objectives as sent by the Lord to the people of Israel. One role of the prophet was to address the present day situation – most often to confront aberrant behavior and beliefs, and turn the people back to right behavior and beliefs. The other role was to reveal future events either as a warning of coming judgment or as an encouragement to look forward and live in hope. We see this in Malachi as suddenly God turns from the present to the future. “Behold, I send My messenger, and he will prepare the way before Me. And the Lord whom you seek will suddenly come to His temple.” (v.1)
What will happen when He comes? Separation. Righteousness on one side, unrighteousness on the other. The line drawn in the sand. Which side will He find you on O’ Israel? You do not know when He will appear: Choose now before the Refiner comes to burn the dross, to purge the sin, to scrub the filth. “I will come near you for judgment.” declares the Lord. If you remain where you currently are, will you be able to stand when I come? “For I am the Lord,” I do not change.” (v.6) The God of their fathers had not moved as these people claimed; the people had moved away from Him. Repent; change your mind and your heart and “Return to Me.” (v.7)
As we know, one did come to prepare the way before Him. And the Lord did come as promised. He said this, “Do not think that I came to bring peace on earth. I did not come to bring peace but a sword. For I have come to set a man against his father, a daughter against her mother…and a man’s enemies will be those of his own household.” (Matthew 10:34-36) Jesus Christ, the promised Messiah, is the line drawn in the sand, there is no other. The line does not move it does not change; in fact, it has never moved nor changed. Only mankind can move, only can mankind can change, by exercising the free will God has given to us.
Jesus Christ, the Refiner, tells us that “He who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me. He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for My sake will find it.” (Matthew 10:38-39) In light of this which side of the line have we chosen? Standing before the Refiner what have we done with our life – keep it and lose it or lose it and find it?
Next time: (Part 6 – Robbers)