Malachi 3:1–4 “See, I am sending my messenger to prepare the way before me, and the Lord whom you seek will suddenly come to his temple. The messenger of the covenant in whom you delight—indeed, he is coming, says the Lord of hosts. 2But 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; 3he will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver, and he will purify the descendants of Levi and refine them like gold and silver, until they present offerings to the Lord in righteousness. 4Then the offering of Judah and Jerusalem will be pleasing to the Lord as in the days of old and as in former years.”
“Where is the God of justice?” (Malachi 2:17). Will God ever vindicate truth, goodness, and justice in this world? Why do so many who do evil claim that God is blessing them? The messenger of the covenant tells us that the Lord bears witness against all who manipulate spiritual power. The Lord exposes our disloyalty, our lies, and our injustice toward one another. The Lord cannot tolerate employers who pay their workers unfairly. The Lord brings judgment against communities that “thrust aside” aliens and ignore the plight of single parents and orphans (Malachi 3:5).
These words are like refining fire and cleansing soap. We cannot escape their purifying work. Yet
as the Lord purifies and refines us, we become priests of God and temples of the Holy Spirit. And
as the Lord purifies and refines us, truth, goodness, and justice are vindicated in this world. But this only happens in and through us.
Dear Lord, refine and purify us. Make our bodies temples of your Holy Spirit so that our lives can be places where truth, justice, and goodness happen—for the sake of our families and friends, our congregations, our workplaces, and our nation. Amen.
Advent Photo Challenge: Take a picture each day during Advent and share on your social media platform of choice with #stpauladvent
Today’s picture inspiration: Temple