Updated: May 25
Article 2 in the discussion from the book of Malachi.
My last post (click here to read it) presented the judgement from God in the book of Malachi... judgement that I believe is still in part, yet to come. And yet, as is with God, has come and is here.
And I believe that many people today miss the true message of this passage, just as many people did in Jesus' time.
Yes, the book of Malachi is about judgement, but ultimately it is about GRACE and MERCY. (And no, I didn't discover this on my own.) Now, if you have ever read the book of Malachi, it doesn't sound like grace and mercy at first pass (or even second, third, and possibly tenth) - but I am finding that EVERYTHING with God, before the end comes, is grace and mercy!
God is pretty fired up in the first two chapters, and rightfully so - as you read about how He is being treated.
(Personal sidenote - as a pretty straightforward person who is not really artistic and/or poetic, I find the bluntness and passionate reasoning of the book of Malachi refreshing compared to the rest of the prophets. Oh, and all passages are from the NASB1995)
Chapter 2 though, ends with an initially, seemingly out of place verse:
17 You have wearied the Lord with your words. Yet you say, “How have we wearied Him?” In that you say, “Everyone who does evil is good in the sight of the Lord, and He delights in them,” or, “Where is the God of justice?”
Remember that the chapter breaks as we see them, are later editions in our more modern translations. I believe that chapter two should have ended with verse 16, as verse 17 really fits better as chapter 3 verse 1.
Here is what I mean:
17 You have wearied the Lord with your words. Yet you say, “How have we wearied Him?” In that you say, “Everyone who does evil is good in the sight of the Lord, and He delights in them,” or, “Where is the God of justice?” Chapter 3 “Behold, I am going to send My messenger, and he will clear the way before Me. And the Lord, whom you seek, will suddenly come to His temple; and the messenger of the covenant, in whom you delight, behold, He is coming,” says the Lord of hosts. 2 “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 fullers’ soap. 3 He will sit as a smelter and purifier of silver, and He will purify the sons of Levi and refine them like gold and silver, so that they may present to the Lord offerings in righteousness. 4 Then the offering of Judah and Jerusalem will be pleasing to the Lord as in the days of old and as in former years.
5 “Then I will draw near to you for judgment; and I will be a swift witness against the sorcerers and against the adulterers and against those who swear falsely, and against those who oppress the wage earner in his wages, the widow and the orphan, and those who turn aside the alien and do not fear Me,” says the Lord of hosts. 6 “For I, the Lord, do not change; therefore you, O sons of Jacob, are not consumed."
For two chapters, God has been calling out their sinful and poor treatment of Him. In chapter 3, He calls out their accusation of Him that He isn't judging evil people as He should.
"Where is the God of justice?" they ask, even to the point of accusing Him of delighting in those who do evil. Why? Because those who do evil are most likely advancing - as opposed to being judged and destroyed.
Has that been your complaint of God in recent years (or days)? Have you lodged this accusation against the Lord in your heart? I am guilty of it.
The passage above in Malachi 3, is God's plan of action and also His defense to that accusation. He is going to suddenly come to His temple as the messenger of His covenant. He will be a refiner's fire, yielding so much of a searing and intense heat that God asks, "Who can endure the day of His coming?".
But this fire isn't His judgement. No, if we will let it, His fire is intended to be part of His Grace and Mercy... purifying us so that we can stand before His judgement.
(Hey, when did this become about my wrongs? It always has been!)
Because His judgement is coming and He will be a swift witness against evil doers. But it won't come for most until they have had time and multiple attempts to accept His Mercy and Grace. That includes you. So, if you haven't accepted Jesus into your heart, right now is the time to do so. Literally, right now apologize to Him for your wrongs, invite Him into your life, soul, and being, and then reach out to a true Christ follower that you know and tell them that you now are in relationship with Him. Don't have a Christ follower in your life? Use the contact button at the top of this page to let us know about it.
Maybe you are saying, but I am already saved. Yes, but are you refined? Are you clean? Or do you still exist in your rebellion and sinful nature - even as a saved person?
Is that possible? Yes.
Ok, almost done in this article.
We accuse God of delighting in evil doers when he doesn't judge them, but only because we separate ourselves in our minds from the group of evil doers. But we aren't separate from them in action. You might say, but we are saved, His children... we are separated from His Judgement. We are at the end of time, but when we live like the world, by our actions we would be judged with the world while in the world.
In other words, if God were to judge evil doers as we want Him to, we would face the same judgement that they did for the same reasons that they do. We wouldn't want that... and He doesn't want that. That is why He says in verse 6 “For I, the Lord, do not change; therefore you, O sons of Jacob, are not consumed."
That verse is the shining light, as the purpose statement of all of this: that what we ask for from God about one person, we ask for all. If we want His grace and mercy in our lives, then we are asking for it for everyone. If we want his judgement on others, then we are asking for it for all, including ourselves. His people would be consumed as well.
So, thank you Lord for your great mercy, even when it is bestowed upon those who harm and hurt us.