Summary: The people of Malachi’s day 1)’Want the blessing’ but 2)’Need the fire’, and the refining is a call to 3)’Change your attitude’.
The refiner¡¦s Fire. Malachi 2:17-3:15 WBC 11/7/4pm
WANT THE BLESSING
Find it strange that, at the end of series on minor prophets and Daniel- I am back where I started
- with the fire. In the refining fire
Find it from God that after last Sun pm¡¦s word about the ¡¥refining fire bringing the anointing¡¦- here it is, right before me!
3 He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver; he will purify the Levites and refine them like gold and silver. Then the LORD will have men who will bring offerings in righteousness, 4 and the offerings of Judah and Jerusalem will be acceptable to the LORD, as in days gone by, as in former years.
Here¡¦s the situation in this passage:
- they weren¡¦t all bad, these guys!
- They were seeking God. They ¡¥wanted the blessing¡¦
o 3:1 ¡¥the Lord you are seeking¡¦
But they were very concerned that it wasn¡¦t happening.
- That the Lord was ¡¥rejecting their offering¡¦, and there was no sign of His blessing
o 1;10 ¡¥I will accept no offerings from your hands¡¦
- that there was no point in serving God¡K it made no difference
o 3:14 ¡¥it is futile to serve God¡¦
Does that sound familiar? Have you ever been at that point?
- you¡¦re not being honest if you say you haven¡¦t
- ¡K or you¡¦ve lived a charmed life¡K or a short one!
You FEEL like you¡¦ve sought God¡K done what is right
- but all it¡¦s done is made it tough for you
- in fact: ¡¥evildoers prosper¡¦, they get the better deal
o 2:17 ¡§all who do evil are good in the eyes of the Lord, and He is pleased with them¡¨
Illustr: couple who ¡¥refrain¡¦ before marriage- but then it¡¦s a real disaster when they do come together.
- person completely honest at work and DOESN¡¦T get promotion because of it
This is a problem for the psalmist.
- read ps 73, some time.
o What¡¦s the point, God? The wicked get away with everything and I¡¦m WORSE off for serving you
„X (but in the end God sets the record straight)
That¡¦s how it feels for these guys. And, truth is, it¡¦s not an ace time for them
- about 450BC. About time of Nehemiah¡¦s 2nd trip- so walls still being rebuilt
And they THINK that they¡¦ve done right. They offer sacrifices. They give to God. But no blessing
And so- they feel hard done by and God gets the blame.
- no anointing. No blessing. Evildoers doing fine¡K ¡§so, almighty, eternal, omniscient, creator God- you don¡¦t love us and you¡¦ve got it wrong¡¨
God answers, and He says you:
NEED THE FIRE
God explains- there¡¦s a reason why it¡¦s ¡¥not happening¡¦¡K and you need to be refined to see it
The God you seek (the Messiah, really, here) is going to come- and He¡¦ll come like a refiners fire and launderers soap-
- and bring to light the things that need to be changed¡K so ¡§Then the LORD will have men who will bring offerings in righteousness¡¨
But who can stand the day of His coming (3:2)
- do you, like me, SAY you want the Lord¡K but are you prepared for the consequences of His coming?
o and what he¡¦ll change¡K show up¡K burn away?
Well- the good news is: he¡¦s coming anyway, as we¡¦ve given Him permission to (and He¡¦s said he will)
- and those who¡¦ve been through the fire have nothing else to fear.
Pioneers were making their way across one of the central states to a distant place that had been opened up for homesteading. They travelled in covered wagons drawn by oxen, and progress was necessarily slow. One day they were horrified to note a long line of smoke in the west, stretching for miles across the prairie, and soon it was evident that the dried grass was burning fiercely and coming toward them rapidly. They had crossed a river the day before but it would be impossible to go back to that before the flames would be upon them. One man only seemed to have understanding as to what could be done. He gave the command to set fire to the grass behind them. Then when a space was burned over, the whole company moved back upon it.
As the flames roared on toward them from the west, a little girl cried out in terror, "Are you sure we shall not all be burned up?" The leader replied, "My child, the flames cannot reach us here, for we are standing where the fire has been!"
Illustrations of Bible Truth by H. A. Ironside, Moody Press, 1945, pp. 34-35 on www.sermoncentral.com
The Bible is filled with pictures of fire- and God working through it