Friday 07 December 2012

Bible Book:

"But who can endure the day of his coming, and who can stand when he appears?" (v. 3)

Malachi 3:1-6 Friday 7 December 2012


Malachi in Hebrew, meansmessenger and so it might well be that the title of this book ofthe Bible comes from this opening verse in chapter 3 and that theauthor(s) identify with this messenger. So who is Malachi? We knowvery little about him. Scholars suggest that this book was probablywritten after the exile but before Nehemiah, so maybe around 440years before Christ.

The book itself gives us someclues to Malachi's concerns. He seems to have a deep love for thetemple (the centre for Jewish worship) and was disappointed by thecharacter of the priests who served the temple. (He also is veryclear about the (im)morality of divorce.)

In this section of Malachi'sprophecy we are told that a messenger is being sent to prepare theway of the Lord who will suddenly come to the temple. On arrivalthe Lord will purify and refine the priests and then will draw nearto all the people of God and offer judgement upon them. In otherwords - this passage is for the leaders of the people of God andfor the people themselves. And in the context of this study - thisis a message to the Church.

It is often easy for the Churchto declare judgement on the rest of the world. The Church caneffortlessly condemn nations and people for acts of aggression,hurt and greed. Yet this passage is a reminder to the Church - thisis asking first the leaders and then the whole church to take agood look at themselves and to see where they might be leftwanting.

But let's not make the mistakethat we can single out individuals whom we believe have not'behaved'. Instead, why do we not ask questions about what theChurch as a whole has done or not done. Where is the Church silentwhen it should be shouting? Where are we shouting when we should besilent? What good has the Church not done?

To Ponder

  • If you belong to a church, how have you involved yourself in'doing good'? Have you actively worked against injustice?
  • How might a whole church community use Advent to refine andpurify themselves?
  • When God comes to your local church to judge, what will Godfind?
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