Return from Exile: Malachi 3 (1)
Pray Psalm 72.1-4.
Give the king Your judgments, O God,
And Your righteousness to the king’s Son.
He will judge Your people with righteousness,
And Your poor with justice.
The mountains will bring peace to the people,
And the little hills, by righteousness.
He will bring justice to the poor of the people;
He will save the children of the needy,
And will break in pieces the oppressor.
Sing Psalm 72.1-4.
(Martyrdom: Alas! And Did My Savior Bleed)
O give the King Your judgment, LORD, and righteousness Your Son;
and let Him judge by Your good Word the need of everyone.
Let now the mountains ring with peace, the hills in righteousness.
Let justice rise, oppression cease, and all the needy bless.
Read and meditate on Malachi 3.1-3.
1. What did God promise?
2. What will be the effect of this?
God promised that another messenger, like Malachi, would be coming. He would have a very specific calling—to prepare the way for God Himself to come suddenly among His people (v. 1). And when God came, He also would be a Messenger, coming with a new covenant to bring rejoicing to the people of God.
Malachi has shown the people that the covenant they made with the Lord was worthless. They may have meant well, but they had no power to overcome their self-centered ways and live sacrificially and in love before the Lord. God the Messenger promised to come with a new covenant to bring the joy of the Lord to His people.
But how could that be? And how could the people endure having God Himself in their midst (v. 2). For the prophet explained that a good bit of refining would need to be accomplished before this people is ready to be God’s. The people—represented by the priests and Levites, the sons of Levi—must be purged of all dross and corruption that the pure gold and silver of righteousness may emerge in them as an offering to the Lord.
God is coming. He is coming to acquire His people, that they may delight in Him. But they must first be purified and transformed, a work which only God can do and for which His new covenant has been established through Jesus Christ. Through His offering we are cleansed and purified. By His resurrection we are made alive. And for His glory we offer ourselves for righteousness in the power of His Spirit.
Treasures Old and New: Matthew 13.52; Psalm 119.162.
And in the power of His Spirit, we have the courage to ask Him to purge and purify us.
Dear Father, please teach us to follow this regimen to righteousness:
“Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean;
wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
Make me hear the joy and gladness, that the bones You have broken may rejoice.
Hide Your face from my sins, and blot out all my iniquities.
Create in me a clean heart, O God,
and renew a steadfast spirit within me” (Ps. 51.7-10).
As James pointed out, this is a work that includes prayer, trust, hope, dependence upon the Holy Spirit, and intense activity on our part. “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded” (Jms. 4.8). As in most things Christian, this process requires active obedience.
The Day of the LORD is coming “as a thief in the night” (2 Pet. 3.10). And as Peter asks, “What manner of persons ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God…?” (2 Pet. 3.11, 12)
“But who can endure the day of His coming?
And who can stand when He appears?” (Mal. 3.2).
Indeed, “at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Phil. 2.10, 11).
We are His messengers to righteously proclaim The Messenger’s arrival.
And while we are actively proclaiming and preparing for His return, we must strive to be righteous messengers who please the Lord. As the One for whom we are living said, “…unless your righteousness exceeds the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven…Therefore you shall be perfect, just as Your Father in heaven is perfect” (Matt. 5.20, 48).
And for this task He has given us His Spirit: “I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever—the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you” (Jn. 14.16, 17).
Equipped to be His messengers—purged, purified, and purposeful.
1. “Equipped to be His messengers…” What does this mean for your Personal Mission Field?
2. What message has God given you to bring to the people in your Personal Mission Field?
3. How can you encourage the believers in your Personal Mission Field to fulfill their callings as messengers for the Lord?
Christ came to distinguish men, to separate between the precious and the vile. He shall sit as a Refiner. Christ, by his gospel, shall purify and reform his church, and by his Spirit working with it, shall regenerate and cleanse souls. Matthew Henry (1662-1714), Commentary on Malachi 3.1-6
Pray Psalm 72.5-11, 18, 19.
Pray for the coming of God’s Kingdom, for the increasing rule of Jesus Christ unto righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit.
Sing Psalm 72..5-11, 18, 19.
(Martyrdom: Alas! And Did My Savior Bleed)
Let nations fear You while the sun and moon endure on high;
refresh, renew us, everyone, like sweet rain falling from the sky.
Let righteousness abundant be where Jesus’ reign endures;
let peace increase from sea to sea ‘til moonlight shall be no more.
And let the Righteous rule the earth, and let His foes bow low;
let nations praise His matchless worth, and all His bidding do.
Now bless the God of Israel Who wondrous works performs.
And bless His Name, His glory tell both now and forevermore!
T. M. and Susie Moore
Two books can help us understand our own captivity and lead us to seek revival and renewal in the Lord. The Church Captive asks us to consider the ways the Church today has become captive to the world. And Revived! can help us find the way to renewal. Learn more and order your free copies by clicking here and here.
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Except as indicated, all Scriptures are taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. For sources of all quotations, see the weekly PDF of this study. All psalms for singing are from The Ailbe Psalter, available free by clicking here.