Soap and Fire

TODAY’S SPECIAL: Malachi 3:1-5

TO CHEW ON: "But who can endure the day of his coming? Who can stand when he appears? for he will be like a refiner’s fire or a launderer’s soap. He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver." Malachi 3:2,3a

"Malachi" by J. James Tissot

Ezra’s revival soon cooled. The joy of being back in Jerusalem evaporated. Life was hard for the exiles. They didn’t get rich quickly, as some had thought they would. Many felt disappointed with God. Their disappointment showed in the way they no longer respected Him. Instead they lived to please themselves.

No longer did the Levites teach the truth. Men divorced their aging wives and married beautiful young foreign women to take their places. People lied, cheated workers out of wages and were mean to immigrants. That’s when the prophet Malachi came on the scene.

“God will return to His temple one day,” he said. “He will come suddenly and purify His people, like soap washes clothes clean or a searing fire burns impurities out of gold and silver.”

Through Malachi God told the people that He saw their careless living and were aware of the ways they broke His laws. Malachi gave them a warning to change their ways. But if they didn’t have a change of heart on their own, they could be sure that God would clean things up – and it wouldn’t be pleasant.

God still works in the two ways we see here. His patience shows in the way He sends warning after warning before judging us. But someday His patience will run out. Then we will see His judgment – as strong as soap and as hot as fire. If there are things in our lives that God doesn’t approve of, let’s take advantage of God’s patience. Let’s confess our sins to Jesus and accept His forgiveness now so we don’t have to fear His coming later.

PRAYER: Dear God, please show me the things in my life that don’t please You. Help me to deal with them now. Amen.

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