Malachi 3:1-4

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. Then the offering of Judah and Jerusalem will be pleasing to the Lord as in the days of old and as in former years.  Malachi 3:1-4

 

Rare is the person who doesn’t remember that sick feeling in their stomach as they worried about what would happen when the Enforcer in their family returned home.  If you had done something wrong, and you knew there was no way out of it, little felt worse that waiting for the moment when you were “going to get it.”

 

In most cases, the wait was worse than the enforcement.  Disappointing a parent might be as painful as the punishment meted out.  Yet “this is going to hurt me more than it hurts you” never felt like an adequate assessment of reality.

 

Many of us live with a conception of God that is still connected to those moments of fearful anticipation.  We live fearful that God is going to show up, and when He does, we are going to get it.  We know we deserve to get it.  We might take a defensive stance, thinking that we have a whole list of other people who deserve to get it far more than we do.  But that doesn’t really help.

 

So we listen to the words of Malachi with mixed feelings.  We hear the reference to the Lord “whom we seek” and the promise that he will show up.  But then we notice that he will show up in the temple.  And maybe then we read a little closer and realize that this passage is about the Lord showing up to refine the “descendants of Levi”.  It is a warning to the priests rather than the rest of the people.

 

Which lets most of you off the hook.  Not so much on this side of the computer.

 

So I also read this a bit closer and I see the magic words – as a refiner and purifier – and I realize that there is little more that I want in my life than that.  I want, I need, and I long for, God’s love to refine me, to purify me, to focus me.  Left to my own devices I am just going to mess things up. 

 

I need – we all need – God to be satisfied with nothing but the best of who we are and what we have been called to do.  If God is willing still to purify, to refine, to shape, then I say bring it on.

 

Let us pray:  Come to us, fill us, shape us, refine us, O God of love and promise.  Work in our lives the power of your redeeming and transforming love.  Use us, that our offerings might be pleasing to you.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

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2 Responses to “Malachi 3:1-4”

  1. Mary Dvorak Says:

    Thanks so much for starting your devotions again it helps me focus! Let me know when you print a book of them, I will buy it and give as gifts! I have told everyone to subscribe and forward the devotions sometimes!
    It has been pretty cold up here in ND, hope you appreciate your winter weather there, Lol!
    Merry Christmas to you and your family, Pastor Kerry!

  2. Carolee Groux Says:

    We have all fallen short and at times feel like a “hot mess” in today’s vernacular. We need God’s goodness and mercy. We call out as in the words of the hymn, “Oh Come, Oh Come Emmanuel”.

    Oh, come, oh, come, Emmanuel,
    And ransom captive Israel,
    That mourns in lonely exile here
    Until the Son of God appear.
    Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
    Shall come to you, O Israel!

    Oh, come, our Wisdom from on high,
    Who ordered all things mightily;
    To us the path of knowledge show,
    and teach us in her ways to go.
    Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
    Shall come to you, O Israel!

    Look up and enjoy reading the remaining verses from Hymn #31 in the Lutheran Worship book.

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