Malachi 2:17 to 3:5
Where is God?
We live in a very significant time in history. The world is shaking, and most people are living in fear and anxiety. Fear of the unknown, that something terrible might happen at any moment. Many people are turning to the church and asking, where is your God? Why doesn’t God stop the suffering? Why does God allow the terrible natural disasters and the genocides that seem to be increasing around the world? Even regular church attendees are asking the same questions.
This is the same question the people of Judah were asking, 2500 years ago. Where is God? Why does he not seem to answer our prayers? In Malachi 2:17 to 3:5 God responds and promises to bring justice to the people of Israel. His response applies equally to us today.
In verse 17 we read that the people were excusing sinful behavior, but not simply excusing it, they were celebrating it. They were calling evil good by saying that something that God had clearly condemned, is something to be celebrated and embraced. We see this so evident in our world today and in so many churches who celebrate what God has clearly called sinful and saying that it is not sin, it is diversity and an expression of love, therefore it must be good. God says to us as He said to the people of Judah – I am getting tired of this.
But not only that, the people were crying out, “where is the God of justice?”
The people were complaining that the wicked were prospering by oppressing the poor? But, Proverbs 11:18 says, “The wicked earns deceptive wages,”
Today, many followers of Jesus are also asking, “where is the God of Justice?”, why does he allow the celebration of sin, why does he allow the oppressor to go unpunished, why does He allow persecution of Christians?
After God spoke to the prophet Malachi, God was silent for four-hundred years. This cry of “where is the God of justice?” was uttered for generations. But then in verse 1, there is a promise that the Lord will come suddenly to his temple. The messenger of the covenant was Jesus himself, God incarnate, and he entered the temple as a fulfilment of this prophecy one week before his crucifixion.
John the Baptist was the messenger first mentioned in verse 1, he was the one who prepared the way of the Lord. But then the Lord suddenly or unexpectedly comes to the temple.
In Matthew 21 we read about when Jesus came into the temple, the Jews were not ready for him, and with a voice of authority that they have never heard before Jesus says, “It is written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer,’ but you make it a den of robbers.” Matthew 21:13
400 years after Malachi, Jesus walks into the temple, and he cleanses it from the corruption and injustice.
That was 2000 years ago, this same Jesus is coming back again, and he is not only going to cleanse the temple, he is going to cleanse the whole world of injustice and sin. Verse 1 speaks of Jesus coming as the messenger of the covenant to redeem mankind by paying the price for our sins, so that we could have a restored relationship with God the Father.
But verse 2 and 3 speak about the second coming of Jesus. Jesus is coming back again, and when he comes again, it won’t be as a baby in a manger. Verse 2 begins with, “who can endure the day of his coming, and who can stand when he appears?” These verses speak about The Day of the Lord, the day when Jesus will come to make everything right, to bring justice and the vengeance of God as we read in Revelation 19:11-16. Malachi describes Jesus as a refiner’s fire and a fullers soap, he is coming to burn off sin and make all things pure.
Verse 4 continues, “Then the offering of Judah and Jerusalem will be pleasing to the Lord…” Jesus, the lion of the tribe of Judah, and the spotless lamb, is the only perfect and eternal offering that is pleasing to the Father. It is only because of the perfect offering of Jesus that we can stand before the all Holy God without being consumed.
But there is more good news; verse 5 proclaims the justice the people were crying out for, this is the good news.
There is no oppression, injustice or abuse that God does not see. God is a God of justice and He will punish the wicked. God is faithful and He will not delay in bringing salvation to His people.
As we read the scriptures, we can easily get wrapped up in endless debates and opinions on the timeline and nature of the end-times. But there is a significantly more important question we need to ask; Are you ready?
As followers of Jesus we need be ready by daily examining our walk and the spiritual condition of our soul (see 2 Corinthians 13:5).
We will all one day stand before Jesus and if we are Christians, we will get rewards and the Bible says that he will judge us based on what we have done. How we have used the gifts he has given us (see 2 Corinthians 5:10).
Robby Gallaty said, “Examination of your works today is better than elimination of blessings tomorrow”
For every true Christian, God is working in us to make us more like Christ. We should not be surprised when God allows us to experience trials, challenges, suffering and even persecution as we read in James 1:2-4. As we go through trials, God uses them to purify us as a refiner’s fire and a fullers soap with the purpose of making us more like Christ (see Romans 8:29).
Let us encourage one another and pray for one another as we grow together in unity and community, because the Day is approaching (Hebrews 10:25).
Are you prepared?