Malachi 3 – Where is the Righteous God
Thursday, 16th March 2023
Rev Daniel Xi An Poon
God was talking to His people through prophet Malachi, because the people were corrupted, and even the priests and the Levites, they did not even realise that they sinned against God. They still continued to offer to God, but their hearts were not there. God called us because He wants to set us apart, so we will not see the world, because the world will pull us away from God. It’s so easy for us to look at the world, to look at the environment, to look at the people around us, then make decision. But God wants us to only live for Him, He is righteous, His judgement is coming, we must not test God’s boundary.
We no longer seek God, we use our own ways to interpret the Word of God, we speak to people out of our own selfish desires. We thought we are making people coming to church, to like church, to offer to church… but in Malachi 3, God told His people that whatever they did was not pleasing in God’s eyes, everything they did was just religious rituals, but they did not honour God. The world is falling, but we are falling with it, because we cannot see God, we think God is not with us any more, and we think that we can live comfortably without God. We think that if we follow God’s path, then we will lose our lifestyles, we don’t see the righteous God, and we only want to compare ourselves with others. We have been challenged by the same question, where is the righteous God? Is God really there?
Section One V1-6 The Time is Near
V1 ‘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.’ What does God want to tell us today? This is not only a message about the coming of Jesus and John the Baptist, but also a message for all of us, the Christians of the New Testament. This also reminds us of the second coming of Jesus and the judgement of the end times. The refining fire will burn away all the wickedness and purify the world.
V2-3 ‘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 launderers’ soap. 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.’ This is the time to seriously look into our lives, do not think we are good enough, do not think that we have done enough, but to examine everything that comes through our heart and our mind. God wants to live among us, He will sit with us as a refiner and purifier, He will reveal to us all the wickedness in our lives and let us turn back to Him. God wants to restore the covenant of Levi, which we did not think it was important. Because we do not see the disasters and the plague coming towards us, we do not think there are problems we need to deal with in our lives, and we fail to convict ourselves for sin, for righteousness and for judgement.
When God reminds us, what is our attitude? Do we stop doing certain things only because God said so? Or can we deal with the root of our sins, to see our motivation of being rebellious? When God told the people not to eat the fruits of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, would we obey His command out of fear? Or can we see how real God is in our lives? God wants to dwell among us, He gave us His Word and He will stay with us to train us, to refine us, to guide us, and to purify us, so we can be like gold and silver. Everything God does in our lives is to make us like the gold and silver, God is calling the gold and silver back to His Temple, the world will be destroyed, only by staying in the Temple of God we can be saved.
Do not think we don’t have the calling to serve God in His Temple. When we became followers of Christ, the calling had come, we are the priests of the New Testament, and we are to serve Him in His appointed place. This is the end time, God is speaking His teaching and disciplines to His people, because He loves us, He does not want to put us down but wants us to turn back to Him.
Section Two V7-12 Turn Back and Be Blessed
V7 ‘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?’ God wants us to turn back now, not when we are ready, but right now. Because God has already prepared His blessings for us, but when we don’t turn back, when we don’t listen to God, when we don’t take the teaching seriously, then we can never receive what He has prepared instore for us.
V10 ‘Bring all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be food in My house, and try Me now in this, says the Lord of hosts, if I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you such blessing that there will not be room enough to receive it.’ What is all the tithes? It’s not only about doing tithing, it’s not only about putting money in the offering box, but it’s also about our fruits. Do we bear fruits for God? God said our children are our inheritance, not only our physical children but also our spiritual children, do we offer them to God? It’s easy to give money, but it’s not easy to keep the covenant of Levi. We are unwilling to walk the way of righteousness and mercy for God, to share the Gospel to the needy, and to lead people to God, not to ourselves.
This is our tithes, our fruits, our offering to God, we must come out of our comfort zone, to turn back to God, and we will receive life. Bring the people to God, disciple them, teach them, share Gospel to them, and let God’s glory come upon them. When we don’t bear fruits, when we don’t have disciples, when we don’t have inheritance, then we must have hunger and thirst, to ask God for the same promise of Abraham, to be fruitful, to multiply, and to cover the earth.
Section Three V13-18 Set Apart as Holy
V13-15 ‘Your words have been harsh against Me, says the Lord, yet you say, what have we spoken against You? You have said, it is useless 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? So now we call the proud blessed, for those who do wickedness are raised up; they even tempt God and go free.’ We see the people of the world, they don’t listen to God, they do whatever they want to do, they don’t follow God’s commands… and they don’t seem to have any problems in their lives. We have a lot of voices inside of us, we see others walking on their wicked ways but are not punished, then we start to doubt the teaching of God.
We start testing the boundary, we don’t bring the righteousness of God to the people, but instead, we tend to say the words pleasing to them. We don’t show people how serious it is to walk away from the path of God and to despise the Word of God.
V16-18 ‘Then those who feared 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 fear the Lord and who meditate on His name. 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. Then you shall again discern between the righteous and the wicked, between one who serves God and one who does not serve Him.’ We must help people to set themselves apart, do not let them fall in the sins, do not let them trip in wickedness, but to show them the path to return to God. We are the ones being called, let us not forget our calling, and let us see God in every aspect of our lives.
玛拉基书 3 – 公义的神在哪里
V8-10 不要以为我们在财物上有做“什一”就好了，要看到我们也有“当献的供物”- 没有产业的祭司利未人如何有供物？就是如亚伯拉罕当初愿意献上自己的儿子那样奉献我们初熟的果子给主。我们是否有“当献的供物”，还是只有自己？我们是否有结果子，所结出来的的果子是否能放在祭坛上献给神？我们所带出来的人是否都只追求这个世界？神的光来到我们里不是让人来喜欢我们。我们的生命要改变、转回，就得祝福。