“See, I am sending my messenger to prepare the way before me, and the Lord whom you seek will suddenly come to his temple. The messenger of the covenant in whom you delight—indeed, he is coming, says the Lord of hosts. 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 fullers’ soap; he will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver, and he will purify the descendants of Levi and refine them like gold and silver, until they present offerings to the Lord in righteousness.” Malachi 3:1-3
This Week’s Scripture References: Ezra 7; Nehemiah 1-2, 4, 6-8; Malachi 1-4
One would think that the Israelites returning to Jerusalem, rebuilding the temple and establishing worship once again would be wonderful experience. But, being human, the people took matters in their own hands and messed up everything. People treated each other badly and their relationship with God was broken. Is it any wonder God responded with frustration?
When have you experienced a similar situation today?
Malachi reminds us that there is good news, not easy news, but good news. God is coming to refine us! We put on masks and layers and hide behind our sin. But God looks through all the layers and lovingly reminds us:
I know who you are! Let’s take off those layers. Let me refine you! I know you are used to those layers and don’t like to take them off, but I want to restore you in My image.
Perhaps understanding what happens when a refiner places silver in the hottest part of the flame will help us to be willing to allow God to transform us in his refining fire. You see, when silver is placed in the hottest part of the flame, the refiner must stay with it and remove it at just the right time. The refiner leans in close, feels the heat on his face, and when the refiner sees his reflection in the silver he knows the silver is ready to be removed from the fire.
God gets this close to us!
How have you experienced God’s refining fire? Are you willing to allow God to get this close to you? Are you willing to allow God to peel back the layers that keep you from being all that God has created you to be?
Malachi’s message prepares us for Advent. Malachi’s message reminds us of the gift that is to come – Jesus! We’ve been walking with the Israelites through 21 chapters of The Story.
Are you weary? Are you ready for Jesus?
“Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel, because he has come to his people and redeemed them…because of the tender mercy of our God, by which the rising sun will come to us from heaven to shine on those living in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the path of peace.” – Luke 1:68-79
In Luke 1, Zechariah reminds us that it is time to anticipate the gift that is to come. Zechariah calls us to wake up and say yes to God’s invitation to step into God’s refining fire. We can do this because we know Jesus is there! Praise be to God!
Spend some time reflecting on the hymn, “Come Thou Long Expected Jesus” and prayerfully consider how Jesus is calling you to find rest in him and be the joy of your longing heart.
Come, Thou long expected Jesus
Born to set Thy people free
From our fears and sins release us
Let us find our rest in Thee
Israel’s strength and consolation
Hope of all the earth Thou art
Dear desire of every nation
Joy of every longing heart
To listen to this week’s sermon, Rebuilding the Walls, Sermon 4/4 in “U-Turn” The Story Mini-Series, click here!
For Family Devotions related to this week’s message, click here!
For more information and additional resources for The Story at Faith UMC, click here!