3 “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; and the messenger of the covenant in whom you delight, behold, he is coming, says the LORD of hosts. 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. He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver, and he will purify the sons of Levi and refine them like gold and silver, and they will bring offerings in righteousness to the LORD. Then the offering of Judah and Jerusalem will be pleasing to the LORD as in the days of old and as in former years.
“Then I will draw near to you for judgment. I will be a swift witness against the sorcerers, against the adulterers, against those who swear falsely, against those who oppress the hired worker in his wages, the widow and the fatherless, against those who thrust aside the sojourner, and do not fear me, says the LORD of hosts.
“For I the LORD do not change; therefore you, O children of Jacob, are not consumed. From the days of your fathers you have turned aside from my statutes and have not kept them. Return to me, and I will return to you, says the LORD of hosts. But you say, ‘How shall we return?’ Will man rob God? Yet you are robbing me. But you say, ‘How have we robbed you?’ In your tithes and contributions. You are cursed with a curse, for you are robbing me, the whole nation of you. Bring the full tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. And thereby put me to the test, says the LORD of hosts, if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you a blessing until there is no more need. I will rebuke the devourer for you, so that it will not destroy the fruits of your soil, and your vine in the field shall not fail to bear, says the LORD of hosts. Then all nations will call you blessed, for you will be a land of delight, says the LORD of hosts.
“Your words have been hard against me, says the LORD. But you say, ‘How have we spoken against you?’ You have said, ‘It is vain to serve God. What is the profit of our keeping his charge or of walking as in mourning before the LORD of hosts? And now we call the arrogant blessed. Evildoers not only prosper but they put God to the test and they escape.’”
The Book of Remembrance
Then those who feared the LORD spoke with one another. The LORD paid attention and heard them, and a book of remembrance was written before him of those who feared the LORD and esteemed his name. “They shall be mine, says the LORD of hosts, in the day when I make up my treasured possession, and I will spare them as a man spares his son who serves him. Then once more you shall see the distinction between the righteous and the wicked, between one who serves God and one who does not serve him.
Malachi 3 Commentary
by Hank Workman
The Lord told Malachi he would send 2 messengers. The fulfillment of these was through John the Baptist who prepared the way for the second, being Jesus, the Messiah. Each role critical, Jesus would revolutionize the world, the religious system and man himself. He would throw all into the refiner’s furnace to burn away the dross and make them pure before Him, for His perfect use.
The process of refining metals involves intense heat with fire until the metal itself melts. The impurities separate and rise to the surface. These, in turn, are skimmed off and what is left is metal that is pure. The refiner knows this has been complete when he can see his reflection in the smooth surface.
Indeed, Jesus is the Refiner. His work is not to destroy but to clean. He does this over and over again. Even within His earthly ministry, he challenged the authorities toward the things they were focused on, the uncleanliness of their own hearts like the religious leaders, His words were of fire and those flames still burn brightly today. Often it can be circumstance after circumstance that burns away the things we’ve made to be important toward that which matters. Often caught in the flames, yes we wonder if He’s trying to destroy us, but the reality from this picture is He’s looking for His image to be seen in us as the impurities of our lives rise to the surface.
History has shown God’s patience with his creation over and over again. That patience is still evident. We continually are disobedient to His call, to His ways. Yet, through His endless love, He will indeed at times amp up the fires to burn away the things in our lives that are a hindrance from serving. Again, His goal is not to destroy but to but ready and clean us for His perfect use. One last picture to consider here, when Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were tossed into the fiery furnace what was seen was another individual who looked like “the Son of Man”. The incredibleness of this picture is Jesus is right beside us in the fire. The testing of these men’s faith stood strong and he was right alongside.
Whatever fire you may be in currently, recognize not only is Jesus with you but He is working in that situation to burn away the things in life that have taken precedence over Him. He’s burning away the sin, the dross of our lives, so His reflection can be seen.
Malachi 3 Commentary
by Brad Boyles
“Because I, Yahweh, have not changed, you descendants of Jacob have not been destroyed.Malachi 3:6 HCSB
Picking up on the truth of God’s refining process, we read in verse 6 that He is unchanging. What does this mean?
God’s nature is refinement and that nature is unchanging. In other words, even when we experience the fiery flames of sin, rebellion, and suffering, God is unwavering in His promises. Though we as believers may deserve to be consumed, we are instead made pure. Consider this truth.
A forest fire is an untamed beast which grows more powerful by the minute and decimates anything in its path. An incinerator burns at over 1500 degrees eradicating the most toxic and hazardous materials on the planet. But this is not God. He is a refiner. His process is more powerful than a forest fire and hotter than an incinerator, yet, it does not consume or destroy us. Why?
He is unchanging.
His love is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. His will is not dependent upon human choices.
This, of course, does not negate the responsibility the people had to obey their Lord and Savior. Because He was unchanging, He was also righteous and holy. His desire was for repentance.
“Your words against Me are harsh,” says the LORD. Yet you ask: “What have we spoken against You?” 14 You have said: “It is useless to serve God. What have we gained by keeping His requirements and walking mournfully before the LORD of Hosts?Malachi 3:13-14 HCSB
The key for those who allow the flames of God to refine them comes down to trust and repentance. An individual with an enduring faith will persevere knowing that their lives are held by the mighty hand of God. They will look at the storms of life as a maturing process that calls them into deeper accountability with God. Joy will be found as they continue to open themselves up more and more to His refining process. It may take months, years, or a lifetime. However, the fact remains… our God is unchanging.