Isaiah wasn’t the only one who hinted about a messenger to announce the Messiah. I was a little confused at first, but did you notice there are two messengers in the first verse? John the Baptist and Jesus are both here. The prophet Malachi speaks God’s words, “The messenger of the covenant, whom you look for so eagerly, is surely coming.” I am holding on to that truth for dear life!
Malachi’s overall message is that despite our sinfulness, we have hope. Forgiveness is available. That is grace! Yet Malachi addresses the elephant in the room and asks, “But who will be able to endure it when he comes? Who will be able to stand and face him when he appears?” Are you feeling ready for Christ’s return?
If you’re not familiar with the process of refining metals, I’m not an expert either. But I have learned that when metal is heated, it melts. The impurities in the metal then separate and rise to the surface where they are skimmed off. That purification process leaves behind pure metal. Precious metal.
Can you see any correlation to your faith journey? Have you felt like you were in the “fire” of challenges, obstacles, and unfair situations? Did you learn from them? Are you stronger or wiser because you’ve walked through those circumstances? I know I am. But I also know I was never alone in the fire.
The text might even suggest that Jesus is the fire, “burning away the dross.” What is dross? It’s defined as something without worth, rubbish, mineral waste, or scum. Jesus will purify our hearts and minds, clearing away all of the unnecessary doubts and distractions that keep us blinded to the truth.
As we become more and more pure through this process, people can start to see Jesus reflected in us. How about that!? We often don’t even realize how much “gunk” we have clogging our lives, blocking out the true beauty God intends for us.
In our Advent preparation, we are focusing on being ready for Jesus’ return and in tune for the celebrations of his birth. The first readers of Malachi’s word from God would have been lost in their sin, and unfaithfulness would have been running rampant. This message would have given them hope that God still cared and wanted to give them an opportunity to be ready and acceptable.
How are you feeling about your faith journey? Can you see how this purification process can benefit you–cleaning out the filth that is keeping you from experiencing all the abundance God had for you?
Let’s pray. Lord I come to you with joy and expectation for what you are about to do. Purify me so others will see you in me. You have promised Jesus will return, and I wait with expectation and hope that I will be able to witness this in my lifetime. Thank you for my life and the gifts you have given me. In Jesus’ name. Amen