Weekly Word from Bro. David
September 22, 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 want to see is the fact of His coming in verse 1. The people look around and see others sinning, but not being punished by God. So they assume that God approves. Life would be simpler if God judged all sins immediately. We would know immediately that we had done something wrong or failed to do something right. We would never have cause to ask, ‘‘Where is the God of justice?''
But the Bible gives us reasons why God waits. God delays in his judgment because of His mercy. He wants to give people time to repent. Exodus 34:6 And the Lord passed before him and proclaimed, "The Lord, the Lord God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abounding in goodness and truth. So the reason that God delays the return of Christ and His judgment is so that the Gospel maybe preached and so that more men, women, and children may repent, believe, and be saved. And why does God delay in rewarding those who wait for Him? The answer is that God wants to train us in enduring faith.
But God promises that there is a day coming and when the final sands fall through the hourglass, then the time will be here and Christ will return to judge the wicked and reward the righteous.
We see this in the New Testament in the One who prepares the way: ''Behold I send My messenger, and he will prepare the way before Me'' The name Malachi means ''my messenger''; and the messenger referred to in this statement from the New Testament we know as John the Baptist. Speaking of John the Baptist, Jesus said, ''For this is he of whom it is written, 'Behold, I send My messenger before Your face who will prepare Your way before You''' (Matt. 11:10)
While Malachi was the last of the writing prophets, John the Baptist was the last and the greatest of the Old Covenant prophets. John was given the unique privilege of ministering at the close of the old dispensation and the beginning of the new, and it was John who presented Jesus to Israel (John 1:29-31). 29 The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, "Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! 30 This is He of whom I said, 'After me comes a Man who is preferred before me, for He was before me.' 31 I did not know Him; but that He should be revealed to Israel, therefore I came baptizing with water."
John prepared the way for the ministry of Jesus by preaching the Word to the crowds, urging them to repent of their sins, baptizing them, and then introducing them to Jesus.
But how does this answer the question, ''Where is the God of justice?'' When Jesus Christ came and died on the cross, He completely satisfied the justice of God. He paid the penalty for the sins of the world and vindicated the holiness of God. Nobody can ever truthfully say, ''God isn't just!'' The cross of Christ is proof that the same God, who ordained the law of sin and death, took sin and death upon Himself and willingly died for sinners. Because of Calvary, God is both just and justifier of all who trust Jesus Christ.
Malachi 3:1 says: ''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 coming ''messenger of the covenant'' is ''the Lord.'' John the Baptist prepared the way for the Lord Jesus, who did come to His temple, and who is the mediator of the new covenant. And Jesus not only visited his temple, He came to replace it and its sacrifices.
The people of God are asking, ''Where is the God of justice?'' And God's answer resounds through the ages, ''He is coming!'' In other words, there is coming a day when Jesus will make all things right.
You just know that some things are going to happen sooner or later. That's the way it was with Michael Parfit, a writer for Smithsonian magazine. For a feature article on the mighty Mississippi River, Parfit rode in a twelve-foot rubber dinghy down the Mississippi from Memphis, Tennessee, to the Gulf of Mexico. He learned of the incredible power of this giant river. The Mississippi gathers its water from 41 percent of the continental U.S., catching water from Montana to New York. Half a trillion tons of water flow down the Mississippi every year, carrying downstream sixty-three thousand tons of soil a day.
A river this big is a threat to the surrounding countryside. That's why engineers have built levees to pinch the mighty giant and keep it from flooding the farmland and towns nearby. The levees on the lower Mississippi stand, on average, 25 feet high and run for 2,203 miles on both sides of the main river and its tributaries.
''As the wall was built over the years,'' writes Parfit, ''people came to live under its protection. They tore down the forest and planted cotton, and the flood plain of the Mississippi became the expanse of farmland known as the Mississippi Delta.'' More than 8 million people live in the Delta. But at what risk? Someday soon will come another flood. That's what Parfit warned in February of 1993. Someday soon will come another devastating flood like the ones in 1882, 1927, and 1973.
In February 1993 when his article was published, Parfit could not have imagined how right he would be. Only months after the publication of the article, in the summer of 1993, came one of the worst floods in the history of the Mississippi.
God's Word warns that someday soon, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, Christ will return to the earth, bringing the wrath of God on all who have not prepared their lives for his coming. Nothing can stop him. The wise person gets ready.
Christ's first coming is a fact of history, His second coming is a fact of prophecy. As sure as He came the first time, He will come again!
Next week we will see the second aspect of these verses and it is The fire of His coming.