Thursday 13 December 2018

Bible Book:

See, I am sending my messenger to prepare the way before me, and the Lord whom you seek will suddenly come to his temple. (v 1)

Malachi 3:1-7 Thursday 13 December 2018

Psalm: Psalm 54


The Book of Malachi comes from a later time than the book of Zechariah, which we’ve been studying so far this week. Zechariah looked forward to the re-establishment of Jerusalem and had a particular vision of the glory of God being at the very heart of the city. Although he didn’t write very much about the Temple in the passages that we have been reading, we can be sure that he saw its rebuilding as a central priority.

We don’t know very much about Malachi. Indeed, since his name translates as ‘my messenger’ (as in verse 1 of our passage today), he may have been an anonymous prophet some time after Zechariah. The Temple had been rebuilt. Malachi, however, writes with disappointment because he sensed that his people were not living as God would wish. Thus the Temple was not fully reflecting the glory of God, even though people seemed to think that they were observing their religion.

Malachi, therefore, envisages God coming directly into this situation, and not in a gentle fashion. God comes as a refiner’s fire. Those responsible for the life and worship of the Temple will be purified by scorching heat. The burning will be painful and practices that had become customary may be destroyed. However, the furnace is necessary if Temple worship is to be acceptable.

The challenge doesn’t affect simply the Temple liturgy. Those who lead people away from God, who are unfaithful in their families or strangers to the truth, those who are unjust in dealing with employees for whom they’re responsible, or mistreat the vulnerable in society or foreigners, will all face judgement, for such behaviour is a sign that they do not take God seriously.


To Ponder:

  • The Gospels tell us how Jesus fulfilled Malachi’s promise by entering and symbolically cleansing the Temple. How can our places of worship be genuine houses of prayer for all nations?
  • Our hymn for today asks that God will purify our hearts. Reflect on what such refining might mean for you.
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