Verse 1 – “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, even the Messenger of the covenant, in whom you delight. Behold, He is coming,” says the LORD of hosts.
John the Baptist was the prophet of the Highest that went before to prepare God’s people for the coming Messiah; to give the knowledge of salvation; to tell them to repent in preparation for the Kingdom of Christ, was at hand (Isaiah 40:3 and Luke 1:76).
Verse 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 fuller’s soap.
Verse 3 – He will sit as a refiner and a purifier of silver; He will purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer to the LORD an offering in righteousness.
Without “Heat”, there can be no purifying. When metals are heated, impurities rise to the top, dross, and it leaves a pure smooth metal when done. The Levi’s were the priests, leader of the people and God was going to purge them.
When our God allows us to go through fiery trials and tests, its to purge us in order to prepare us for kingdom work. So don’t complain when they come, because God is preparing you for something much greater. There is always a bigger picture when God is involved.
Verse 4 – “Then the offering of Judah and Jerusalem will be pleasant to the LORD, as in the days of old, as in former years.
Verse 5 – And I will come near you for judgement; I will be a swift witness against sorcerers, against adulterers, against perjurers, against those who exploit wage earners and widows and the fatherless, and against those who turn away an alien – because they do not fear Me,” says the LORD of hosts.
Verse 6 – “For I am the LORD, I do not change; therefore you are not consumed, O sons of Jacob.
Verse 7 – Yet from the days of your fathers you have gone away from My ordinances and have not kept them. Return to Me, and I will return to you,” says the LORD of hosts. “But you said, “In what way shall we return?’
When the people replied, “In what way shall we return?” They implied that they hadn’t done anything wrong. And that is the exact reason some refuse to return to God today, because they won’t admit their sin and repent. They simply refuse to humble themselves because they compare themselves to someone else – “I’m not as bad as others!”
Verse 8 – “Will a man rob God? Yet you have robbed Me! But you say, ‘In what way have we robbed you?’ in tithes and offerings.
Verse – 9 – You are cursed with a curse, for you have robbed Me, even this whole nation.
Verse 10 – Bring all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be food in My house, and prove Me now in this,” says the LORD of hosts, “If I will not open the windows of heaven and pour out for you such blessing that there will not be room enough to receive it.
The people had been neglecting the giving of their “first fruits.” The Levites had resorted to going to the fields to work because the people had neglected their responsibility to provide for them. So in turn, the people said they were too poor to give, but if they had combined what they gave, there would be plenty for all. Do you know that if all people tithed as they should, there would be no need for government assistance?
Verse 11 – “And I will rebuke the devourer for your sake’s, so that he will not destroy the fruit of your ground, nor shall the vine fail to bear fruit for you in the field, says the LORD of host;
Look what God will do if we tithe; He will rebuke Satan from stealing from us. Everything we have is from God, so when we refuse to give a part of it back, we rob God.
Verse 12 – “And all nations will call you blessed, for you will be a delightful land,” says the LORD of hosts.
Verse 13 – “Your words have been harsh against Me,” says the LORD, “Yet you say, ‘What have we spoken against You?’
Verse 14 – You have said, ‘It is vain to serve God; what profit is it that we have kept His ordinance, and that we have walked as mourners before the LORD of hosts?
Verse 15 – So now we call the proud blessed, for those who do wickedness are raised up; yes, those who tempt God go free.’ ”
Do you know people still ask this question today? “What good will it do me to serve God? O what’s in it for me?” Do we expect to receive a reward every time we give to God’s kingdom, or do we serve without ever expecting anything in return.? Please don’t forget that God Himself said, “See if I won’t pour out for you such blessing that there will not be room enough to receive it and He will rebuke the devourer for you!”
Verse 16 – Then those who feared (worshiped) the LORD spoke to one another, and the LORD listened and heard them; so a book of remembrance was written before Him for those who feared the LORD and who meditate on His name.
Our deeds are present with God, whether good or evil. In the Day of Judgment, He will make them manifest to men and angels, as though read out of a book. Daniel 7:10, …The court was seated, and the books were opened.
Verse 17 – “They shall be Mine,” says the LORD of hosts, “On the day that I make them My jewels. And I will spare them as a man spares his own son who serves him.”
Verse 18 – Then you shall again discern between the righteous and the wicked, between one who serves God and one who does not serve Him.
Our Christianity should be genuine to the point of no one having to guess whether we belong to God, or not!