Summary: In verses 1-4 we can see love from (1) The Coming Lord (Malachi 3:1-2)and from (2) The Purifying Lord (Malachi 3:3–4)
As much as people love seeing Christmas movies and Norman Rockwell-esque nostalgia, we tend to find out that the life that we have now never seems to live up to that ideal. For those who have lived long enough, they tend to say that life has always been hard, and those depictions were always just ideals. Yet, are those ideals then something to just amuse ourselves or ideals to be desired?
In Malachi 3, even though the people of God had returned to the Promised Land and the temple had been rebuilt, many were distressed at the apparent failure of the prophetic promises of restored prosperity, international prominence, and wealth (Haggai 2; Zech. 1:16ff.; 2:1–13; 8:1–9:17). Instead, Israel was experiencing only continued social and political oppression and economic privation (Neh. 1:3; 9:36ff.; Mal. 3:10ff.). Still worse, it had been promised that God would return to Jerusalem and to his temple, which he would again inhabit with his own glorious presence (e.g., Zech. 1:16ff.; 2:4ff., 10–13; 8:3–8; 9:9–17). Haggai 2:9 promised that the rebuilt temple would be filled with an even greater measure of glory than Solomon’s. But far from enjoying such radiant glory, the temple of Malachi’s day was devoid of any visible manifestation of God. Yet it would not always be so, for Malachi promised, “the Lord whom you seek will suddenly come to his temple” (Mal. 3:1). Simeon witnessed at least a partial fulfillment of this prophecy when he encountered in the temple the infant Jesus, who had come “for glory to your people Israel” (Luke 2:32). The NT unfolds further fulfillment, for only the glory of God in the person of Jesus Christ would be this greater glory (Luke 2:29–32; John 1:14; 2 Cor. 4:6) (Crossway Bibles. (2008). The ESV Study Bible (p. 1777). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.).
When our homes and Christmas gatherings fail to materialize the idealized love based life that we either once had or envision, what do we do? We are tempted to have a grander gathering, buy more expensive gifts or make greater promises. "The Gift of Love" in the coming of Christ reminds us that it is Him and Him alone that will bring glory to our lives and those to whom we care about. When we consider the promise and fulfillment of His coming we see how His glory can restore what the failure of human effort can never achieve.
In Malachi 3:1-4 we see the Father's "Gift of Love" in the promise of His Son through a series of predictions (i.e., announcements regarding the future). In verses 1-4 we can see love from (1) The Coming Lord (Malachi 3:1-2)and from (2) The Purifying Lord (Malachi 3:3–4)
First, we see love from:
(1) The Coming Lord (Malachi 3:1–2)
Malachi 3:1-2 [3:1]"Behold, I send my messenger, and he will prepare the way before me. And the Lord whom you seek will suddenly come to his temple; and the messenger of the covenant in whom you delight, behold, 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. (ESV)