The Refiner’s Fire!
Scripture reading for October 4th: 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 who went where the people were and asked hard questions. He tried to provoke God’s people to repent and do what God had required.
The priests were sacrificing blind, crippled and diseased animals. God was holy and He demanded pure sacrifices but His priests were dishonoring Him. (Malachi 1:6-14) Malachi asked if the governor would be pleased if they brought him animals like that? The answer was obvious!
God asked the priests why they were breaking their covenant vows with their wives? They were sacrificing to God on the Sabbath and then sacrificing to idol gods and having sex with the temple prostitutes. This practice would defile them and sow violence and divorce into their homes. (Malachi 2: 11-16) This dishonored God and hindered the development of godly offspring, God’s plan for covenant marriage.
God asked the people why they 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 His tithe! God told them to test Him in this. God promised to open the windows of heaven for those who honor Him with the tithe! He will also rebuke the devourer and bless their provisions.
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. This process would bring about righteous obedience in the offerings and personal behavior. God was going to be quick to testify against those involved in sins of adultery, perjury, sorcery, and oppression of orphans and widows! (Malachi 3:1-8) The people needed to prepare for this messenger and the refining fire! (Malachi 4:1-3)
Malachi had a message that still rings true today for us. Jesus is coming with fire next time. Those who believe in Him will have their works tested by fire at the Judgment Seat of Christ. Those who oppose Him will be defeated by fire and eternally judged by fire!