Weekly Word from Bro. David
October 6, 2016
From The Pastor's Heart:
We've been steadily studying the OT book of Malachi for several weeks now. Today, we continue to look at chapter 3 as we see Malachi 2:17-3:5 and think about the subject, there is coming a day.
17 You have wearied the Lord with your words; Yet you say, "In what way 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?" 1 "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, Even 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 launderer's soap. 3 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. 4 "Then the offering of Judah and Jerusalem Will be pleasant to the Lord, As in the days of old, As in former years. 5 And I will come near you for judgment; I will be a swift witness Against sorcerers, Against adulterers, Against perjurers, Against those who exploit wage earners and widows and orphans, And against those who turn away an alien-- Because they do not fear Me," Says the Lord of hosts.
Between Malachi 2, that deals with the sin of the people in divorcing their spouses and marrying unbelievers, and Malachi 3, that deals with their sin of robbing God of tithes and other obligations, there is a section dealing with the coming of the Lord judgment. God promises that there is coming a day when He will judge all wickedness, reward righteousness, and set the crooked things straight.
The first aspect of His coming we saw last week in verse 1. It dealt with the fact of His coming. Today we will see the second aspect of these verses and it is the fire of His coming in verses 2 - 4. Verse 1 describes the coming of Christ in a very interesting way. In fact, it seems to contradict itself because it is described so differently.
First, His coming is described like this: “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” This describes the time when the coming of the Lord is welcomed and desired. It describes the first coming, when He came to save.
But there's another description in verses 2-3. 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 launderer's soap.
3. 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.”
Do you see an immediate contrast between verse 1 and 2? Look again at those words, “But who can endure the day of His coming, and who can stand when He appears?” The first time He came it was in grace and for salvation, but the next time He comes it will be in judgment and for destruction. He has come once to save but He comes again to judge.
According to this image, God will be like a refiner of silver. Workers of silver can still be seen today in oriental bazaars. They melt the ore in small, portable furnaces. As the ore melts, the dross rises to the top and is then scraped off by the refiner. The workman keeps peering into the crucible, removing dross until he can see his face in the molten metal as in a mirror and knows that the work is done. In such a manner, God will apply the heat of affliction and discipline until he can see his image in his people.
In spite of the people's demand for justice, when God should come to his people in the person of his Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, it would not be for an immediate judgment on sin - however much they deserve it - but for God's own gracious work of redemption.
He would come to seek and to save the lost, to bring healing, and to purify his elect people. Only after that gracious work would the judgment come.
Earl Kelly, pastor of the First Baptist Church of Holly Springs, Mississippi, was preaching on the second coming of Christ. He had just quoted Matthew 24:27, “For as lightning comes from the east and shines as far as the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man.” At this point, a large light bulb fell from its socket in the ceiling and shattered on the floor in front of the pulpit. As reported by Baptist Press, Kelly was equal to the occasion. He told the startled worshippers, “His coming will be just as sudden, and unexpected, and devastating to the dreams that are not Christ-centered.”
Once the nation is cleansed, and the priests are purified, then they can become an acceptable sacrifice to the Lord: “Then the offering of Judah and Jerusalem will be pleasing to the Lord.” The priests in Malachi's day were offering sacrifices that were unacceptable, and the priests were unacceptable, but God's Messenger would make His people “living sacrifices” that would be acceptable to the Lord.