Rough Justice

OPENING PRAYER

God of justice, I bow before You and ask that You cleanse my heart and help me to walk in humility.

 

Read: MALACHI 2:17-3:5

[17] You have wearied the LORD with your words. “How have we wearied him?” you ask. By saying, “All who do evil are good in the eyes of the LORD, and he is pleased with them” or “Where is the God of justice?” [1] “I will send my messenger, who will prepare the way before me. Then suddenly the Lord you are seeking will come to his temple; the messenger of the covenant, whom you desire, will come,” says the LORD Almighty. [2] 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. [3] He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver; he will purify the Levites and refine them like gold and silver. Then the LORD will have men who will bring offerings in righteousness, [4] and the offerings of Judah and Jerusalem will be acceptable to the LORD, as in days gone by, as in former years. [5] “So I will come to put you on trial. I will be quick to testify against sorcerers, adulterers and perjurers, against those who defraud laborers of their wages, who oppress the widows and the fatherless, and deprive the foreigners among you of justice, but do not fear me,” says the LORD Almighty. 

 

Reflect: WHAT WILL IT BE LIKE WHEN THE LORD COMES?

One of the arguments often presented for modern atheism is that the suffering and injustice everywhere in our world must mean that there is no God. However, the brokenness of our world, its pains and injustices, are not something new. Malachi faced them too. Occult practices, immorality and downright lies contributed to the exploitation of the vulnerable, especially the working classes, alongside widows, the fatherless and aliens (3:5). Malachi’s answer is that justice will prevail and righteousness triumph (3,4). How?If there is to be justice, there must be judgment (5). So, when God appears, “who can endure?” (2). When such judgment happens, it may feel as thorough and intense as molten metal in a refiner’s fire or the most caustic of cleaners. Yet its objective is reformative, aimed at our purity (2–4), like the testing of faith in the New Testament (1 Pet. 1:6,7). Between the justice we desire and the judgment we deserve, the Lord appears as the fulfillment of God’s covenant (Jer. 31:31–34). He is available to all who “seek” and “desire” him (1), who “will save his people from their sins” (Matt. 1:21).

 

APPLY

Justice is coming! Judgment is coming! Jesus is coming! Be ready!

 

CLOSING PRAYER

Father, help me to walk in soberness, to warn others and to offer the hope that is available in You.

 

Syndicated via Scripture Union. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Terry Schneider