Malachi 3

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; and the messenger of the covenant, whom you desire, behold, he comes!” says the LORD of Armies. 2 “But who can endure the day of his coming? And who will stand when he appears? For he is like a refiner’s fire, and like launderer’s soap; 3 and he will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver, and he will purify the sons of Levi, and refine them as gold and silver; and they shall offer to the LORD offerings in righteousness. 4 Then the offering of Judah and Jerusalem will be pleasant to the LORD, as in the days of old, and as in ancient years. 5 I will come near to you to judgement; and I will be a swift witness against the sorcerers, and against the adulterers, and against the perjurers, and against those who oppress the hireling in his wages, the widow, and the fatherless, and who deprive the foreigner of justice, and don’t fear me,” says the LORD of Armies. 6 “For I, the LORD, don’t change; therefore you, sons of Jacob, are not consumed. 7 From the days of your fathers you have turned aside from my ordinances, and have not kept them. Return to me, and I will return to you,” says the LORD of Armies. “But you say, ‘How shall we return?’ 8 Will a man rob God? Yet you rob me! But you say, ‘How have we robbed you?’ In tithes and offerings. 9 You are cursed with the curse; for you rob me, even this whole nation. 10 Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house, and test me now in this,” says the LORD of Armies, “if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there will not be room enough for. 11 I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, and he shall not destroy the fruits of your ground; neither shall your vine cast its fruit before its time in the field,” says the LORD of Armies. 12 “All nations shall call you blessed, for you will be a delightful land,” says the LORD of Armies. 13 “Your words have been stout against me,” says the LORD. “Yet you say, ‘What have we spoken against you?’ 14 You have said, ‘It is vain to serve God;’ and ‘What profit is it that we have followed his instructions, and that we have walked mournfully before the LORD of Armies? 15 Now we call the proud happy; yes, those who work wickedness are built up; yes, they tempt God, and escape.’ 16 Then those who feared the LORD spoke one with another; and the LORD listened, and heard, and a book of memory was written before him, for those who feared the LORD, and who honored his name. 17 They shall be mine,” says the LORD of Armies, “my own possession in the day that I make, and I will spare them, as a man spares his own son who serves him. 18 Then you shall return and discern between the righteous and the wicked, between him who serves God and him who doesn’t serve him.

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Questions about today’s reading? See if Matthew Henry can help.
Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary, 1706

Verses 1–6

The first words of this chapter seem an answer to the scoffers of those days. Here is a prophecy of the appearing of John the Baptist. He is Christ’s harbinger. He shall prepare the way before him, by calling men to repentance. The Messiah had been long called, “He that should come,” and now shortly he will come. He is the Messenger of the covenant. Those who seek Jesus, shall find pleasure in him, often when not looked for. The Lord Jesus, prepares the sinner’s heart to be his temple, by the ministry of his word and the convictions of his Spirit, and he enters it as the Messenger of peace and consolation. No hypocrite or formalist can endure his doctrine, or stand before his tribunal. Christ came to distinguish men, to separate between the precious and the vile. He shall sit as a Refiner. Christ, by his gospel, shall purify and reform his church, and by his Spirit working with it, shall regenerate and cleanse souls. He will take away the dross found in them. He will separate their corruptions, which render their faculties worthless and useless. The believer needs not fear the fiery trial of afflictions and temptations, by which the Saviour refines his gold. He will take care it is not more intense or longer than is needful for his good; and this trial will end far otherwise than that of the wicked. Christ will, by interceding for them, make them accepted. Where no fear of God is, no good is to be expected. Evil pursues sinners. God is unchangeable. And though the sentence against evil works be not executed speedily, yet it will be executed; the Lord is as much an enemy to sin as ever. We may all apply this to ourselves. Because we have to do with a God that changes not, therefore it is that we are not consumed; because his compassions fail not.

Verses 7–12

The men of that generation turned away from God, they had not kept his ordinances. God gives them a gracious call. But they said, Wherein shall we return? God notices what returns our hearts make to the calls of his word. It shows great perverseness in sin, when men make afflictions excuses for sin, which are sent to part between them and their sins. Here is an earnest exhortation to reform. God must be served in the first place; and the interest of our souls ought to be preferred before that of our bodies. Let them trust God to provide for their comfort. God has blessings ready for us, but through the weakness of our faith and the narrowness of our desires, we have not room to receive them. He who makes trial will find nothing is lost by honouring the Lord with his substance.

Verses 13–18

Among the Jews at this time, some plainly discovered themselves to be children of the wicked one. The yoke of Christ is easy. But those who work wickedness, tempt God by presumptuous sins. Judge of things as they will appear when the doom of these proud sinners comes to be executed. Those that feared the Lord, spake kindly, for preserving and promoting mutual love, when sin thus abounded. They spake one to another, in the language of those that fear the Lord, and think on his name. As evil communications corrupt good minds and manners, so good communications confirm them. A book of remembrance was written before God. He will take care that his children perish not with those that believe not. They shall be vessels of mercy and honour, when the rest are made vessels of wrath and dishonour. The saints are God’s jewels; they are dear to him. He will preserve them as his jewels, when the earth is burned up like dross. Those who now own God for theirs, he will then own for his. It is our duty to serve God with the disposition of children; and he will not have his children trained up in idleness; they must do him service from a principle of love. Even God’s children stand in need of sparing mercy. All are righteous or wicked, such as serve God, or such as serve him not: all are going to heaven or to hell. We are often deceived in our opinions concerning both the one and the other; but at the bar of Christ, every man’s character will be known. As to ourselves, we have need to think among which we shall have our lot; and, as to others, we must judge nothing before the time. But in the end all the world will confess that those alone were wise and happy, who served the Lord and trusted in Him.

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