3 “I will send my messenger, who will prepare the way before me. Then suddenly the Lord you are seeking will come to his temple; the messenger of the covenant, whom you desire, will come,” says the Lord Almighty.
2 But who can endure the day of his coming? Who can stand when he appears? For he will be like a refiner’s fire or a launderer’s soap. 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.
Dear God, my wife told me that these first three verses constitute three separate songs in Handel’s Messiah. As he wrote his tribute to the life of Jesus, these verses of prophecy must have captured his imagination. I have spent next to zero time in the book of Malachi in my life. This might be the first time I’ve journaled on anything from it. But knowing that three of these four verses impacted Handel so much has made me want to look at them more closely.
“The messenger of the covenant, whom [I] desire, will come.” Okay, I don’t know if the “you” in the verse pertains to me, but since I’m taking this verse into my modern era, it’s pretty easy to apply it to myself. What about right now, sitting here on October 10, 2022. Am I waiting for a messenger of the covenant? Obviously, Jesus has already come, so I’m not waiting for the Messiah to come. But am I listening for you now?
“But who can endure the day of his coming? Who can stand when he appears? For he will be like a refiner’s fire or a launderer’s soap.” Am I ready to be refined? Am I ready for the launderer’s soap? Of course not. I have so much dross in my silver it’s ridiculous. I’m still very selfish. Lazy. Judgmental. I don’t love you with all my heart, soul, mind, and strength. I love some neighbors as myself, but certainly not all of them. How will you work on me? How are you currently working on me? Am I up to it? The good news is that part of Jesus’s coming was to provide a way for me to “endure” and “stand.” That’s the irony. He brings the realization of my sins, but then provides the means by which I am cleansed of them with his refiner’s fire and launderer’s soap.
“Then the Lord will have men who will bring offerings in righteousness, and the offerings of Judah and Jerusalem will be acceptable to the Lord, as in days gone by, as in former years.” Father, Holy Spirit, Jesus, thank you for making a path for me to bring my pitiful offerings in righteousness. Thank you for counting me, a Gentile, as one of your own. Be gentle as you refine and cleanse me. But also be effective as well. Make me into the man you need me to be.
I pray this through the cleansing that Jesus gave me,