Tuesday, March 13, 2018 By Autumn DeVos
Malachi 3: 1-4: 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. 2 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. 3 He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver, and he will purify the sons of Levi and refine them like gold and silver, and they will bring offerings in righteousness to the Lord. 4 Then the offering of Judah and Jerusalem will be pleasing to the Lord as in the days of old and as in former years.
In Malachi Ch. 3, Verses 1-4, Malachi speaks these words. God is talking about sending a message that will cleanse his people, so that the offering they bring will be righteous. I have some thoughts on that process.
He is going to come, but when he does, it is not going to be easy— when he comes, he is going to change you. The process of refining and purifying silver and gold goes something like this— the refiner places the metal over a fire so hot that it melts. When they place it over the fire, it just looks like a normal chunk of gold. It would be easy to just pass it off as good enough. But slowly, over time as it melts into liquid gold—a totally different form than it when started—the impurities start to float to the top of gold—this is called smelt. The refiner then painstakingly removes every bit of smelt and all the impurities that he can from the gold. What he is left with is 99.99% pure gold. There are other ways to refine gold, but none of them come close to being as effective as by fire. He knows the process is finished when he looks over the pot and can see his own face reflected in the melted gold. Similarly, Fuller’s soap is a very powerful soap, used to wash away all blemishes from fabric. Here the Lord is making a contrast between the offerings of the rebellious Israelites, and the offering that will bring true purity and will be truly righteous. An offering like that must be so pure, that the exact image of the creator is reflected in it.
For us, this is both meant to turn our faces to the only righteous sacrifice that does cleanse us and allow us back into relationship with God, but it is also helpful for us to understand that this is what the process of sanctification looks like—a painful, slow cleansing of all that takes away from the beauty of his creation. The Lord is making us look more and more like Him, until the day that he returns and our transformation will be complete and we will have new bodies that reflect the true, unblemished image of God.