Summary: Exposition of Malachi 3
Some things never change.
The politician who promises the most before the election delivers the least afterwards.
The same people who complain the loudest never volunteer to take over. .
Teenagers are always sure they know more than mom & dad, ‘til they get kids of their own.
Your paycheck almost increases as much as the tar rate. .
We’d like politicians to keep their promises, complainers to show us how to do it better, teens who listen now instead of later, the paycheck to stay ahead of the tax rate. Change can be a good thing. On the other hand, I’m glad some things never change. I’m glad the sun rises every day. I’m glad that I always have time to sleep at night. I’m glad for my wife’s undying love. Most of all, I’m glad that in the midst of all that changes in this world
Malachi 3:6 For I am the LORD, I do not change…
God’s changelessness—what theologians call His immutability—is comforting to me. No matter how my circumstances or feelings change, I always find Him to be sure and certain, faithful and loyal. Malachi 3 lists 3 areas of God’s relationship with us that never changes- 3 areas that challenge and comfort our hearts.
I. HIS PASSION FOR PURITY (v. 1-7)
I don’t like to look into the glass of milk I’m drinking and see anything black floating around. If the dog somehow gets to the table and licks the food, I’m not going to eat it. In my humble opinion, water that isn’t clear isn’t fit to drink. Purity will always be important to me.
Malachi tells us purity is important to the Lord—so important that He is always passionate about our purity in worship and our obedience to His Word.
Back in Mal. 2:17 Israel asks the question: where is the God of justice? They’re not just asking where He is---they’re asking God to show up and set things right. Vs. 1 declares God answers with a personal appearance.
To start with, the Lord promises to send His Messenger…he will prepare the way for Me. In ancient times before a King would arrive, his servants would prepare the road before him---fill up the potholes, level out the bumps in the road. He’d prepare the people to welcome the King properly. Jesus identifies this Messenger as John the Baptist in Matt. 11:7-10.
But the main attraction is …the Lord, whom you seek, will suddenly come to His temple…God Himself comes to His people, and Malachi says they get more than they bargained for. Who can endure…who can stand? The answer is nobody. He doesn’t come to pat them on the back---He comes to purify them, like a refiner’s fire, like launderer’s soap. He come, to purify His people like a metal worker, to clean His house spick and span.
He begins with their worship (v. 3-4) He will purify the sons of Levi…that they may offer to the Lord an offering in righteousness…The Levites were in charge of worship in the Temple. God says their worship has degenerated into meaningless, mindless ritual, instead of thoughtful, adoration of their Lord. God will purify them by bringing them back to worship Him in spirit and truth as they did in the old days (v.4).
From the Temple the Lord moves in vs. 5 to purify the people in their obedience. He will judge those who rebel against him---sorcerers, adulterers, liars, those who take advantage of the helpless widow, orphan, and stranger---those who do not fear Me. He will purge the land of rebels instead of just wiping them all out only because of His unchanging mercy (v.6) He invites them to return to Him, even though they act as if they have done nothing wrong (v. 7).
On one level, this passage predicts the coming and work of Christ. Over 400 years after Malachi’s prophecy, God sends His messenger, John the Baptist to prepare the way for Christ. And the Lord Jesus Christ does come to His temple and clean it out, purifying worship of hypocrisy, calling people to be purified through His Cross, and live obediently.
On another level, this prophecy outlines God’s passion for His people everywhere.
What is the Lord doing here? He is demonstrating His unchanging commitment to His people’s purity. He loves them too much to leave them to their polluted worship; He loves them too much to allow disobedience to corrupt their relationship with Him. So in mercy, He makes a personal visit to purify them---even though they don’t realize how dirty they really are.
I am told that whenever there is an outbreak of sickness, one of the most important things you can do to stay healthy is to wash your hands frequently. You can pick up bacteria and viruses off almost anything---a doorknob, a telephone, a pen, a book. That microscopic impurity can make you sick, and if you get a bad enough case, even kill you. Purity is especially important to good physical health.