The Refiner’s Fire!
Scripture reading for October 3rd: Malachi 1-4
Malachi was the final voice of a prophet in the era of the Old Covenant. After him, God was silent for 400 years until John the Baptist came on the scene. Malachi was a street preacher of his day. He loved to pose questions to people on the street and then answer them. He sought to provoke God’s people to repentance and the obedience of faith.
There were several issues that Malachi hit hard in his preaching. One issue concerned the priests who were sacrificing crippled and diseased animals. God was and is holy and He demands pure sacrifices; His priests were dishonoring Him. (Malachi 1:6-14) God is a great king who is worthy of our best!
Another issue was priests who were breaking covenant vows with their wives. They were sacrificing to God on the Sabbath, but then going to idol temples and sacrificing to idols and having sex with the temple prostitutes. God was watching and angry! He warned them through Malachi that this practice defiled them and sowed violence and divorce into their homes. (Malachi 2: 11-16) This dishonored God and hindered the development of godly offspring which was God’s plan for covenant marriage.
God warned them that His people were stealing from Him. They were not giving God their tithes, bringing them under a curse. The devourer was eating their crops and taking away their sustenance. (Malachi 3:8-12) The remedy was simple: return to God by bringing Him His tithe! God told them that they could test Him in this. This is the only place in Scripture where testing God is allowed and God promised to open the windows of heaven for those who honored Him with the tithe!
God was going to send His messenger of the covenant to His temple. He would be like a refiner’s fire or a launderer’s soap, purifying the Levites. Who could stand when this “Messenger” came? Those involved in sins of adultery, perjury, sorcery, and oppression of orphans and widows would surely be in trouble! (Malachi 3:1-8) This fire would reduce those who opposed the Lord to ashes but the righteous would go free! (Malachi 4:1-3)
Malachi has a message that still rings true today. Jesus is coming! Those who believe in Him will have their works tested by fire at the Judgment Seat of Christ. Those who oppose Him will be eternally judged by fire! Time is running out!