In response to the people crying out to God, He promises to send a messenger. The people are asking God to end the oppression and injustices they are enduring. In their hearts they probably want God to swoop in and destroy their enemies. How hard it is to look within. How hard it is to see that we are often the cause of our own struggles.
God knows the true root of the problem so instead of sending a powerful king or a legion of angels, He tells Malachi that He will send a refiner. God is sending a messenger who will purify the hearts of the people. This messenger will use the refiner’s fire and the launderer’s soap to cleanse the people of their sin. God even poses the question, “Who will stand?” It will be an ordeal for the people.
I love this text as we begin Advent. As we prepare for and pray for the coming of Jesus, I think we do so too often with the misconception that we ourselves are ready. It is fine for God to come and refine all those other people so they are adequately prepared for Advent. We want to think we are okay. How we hate to look within.
The refiner’s fire and the advent of God;s righteousness will touch us all. How clean are we willing to make ourselves? How much of self are we willing to lay aside so we are truly ready to welcome Jesus at Advent and into our hearts? He only refines what we offer up. He only enters through the door we open. This Advent season may we offer all we have to our Lord and Savior.
Scripture reference: Malachi 3: 1-4