The prophet Malachi wrote during a time of great spiritual decline. The people of Israel had broken their covenant with God by worshipping idols and living according to their own hearts. Malachi 3:1-4 is an exhortation to the people of Israel to remember their commitment to God and return to Him. This devotional will explore this passage and consider its relevance today.
In Malachi 3:1, God says He will send a messenger before Him, presumably referring to the coming of Jesus Christ. The phrase “the Lord whom you seek” could be translated as “the Lord whom you require.” In other words, the people of Israel were in need of a savior; so much so that they required Him for redemption. In verse 2, there is an allusion to Exodus 19:11–13 where the presence of God descended upon Mt. Sinai in fire and smoke when entering into covenant with Moses and the Children of Israel. Verse 3 speaks specifically about judgement but also leaves room for repentance as it mentions “refining” or purifying as part of the process. Lastly, verse 4 refers back to Exodus 19 by saying that if the people fear God and obey His commandments, He will be like a shield around them (Hebrews 13:6).
Meaning for Today
Malachi 3:1-4 calls us to remember our commitment to God through Jesus Christ who offers us redemption from our sins (John 14:6). It also serves as a reminder that we should strive after holiness through refining fire (Hebrews 12:14); putting off everything that hinders us from hearing, understanding, knowing and following Jesus (Hebrews 5:8-9; James 1:22-25). In addition, this passage implicitly calls us to guard ourselves against complacency and apathy—of avoiding hard work; responding properly when faced with judgement; and always remembering how much we need Christ’s work on our behalf for salvation.
Questions for Personal Reflection
- Am I actively seeking after the Lord?
- What could I do differently this week in order to draw nearer unto Him?
- How have I seen myself judged recently? Have I accepted it or resisted it?
- Have I experienced any refining fire lately? Has it made me stronger or more faithful?
- What does my life look like without Jesus’ grace supporting me?
Almighty Father, thank You for Your perfect love expressed through Your Son Jesus Christ Who came down from Heaven in order that I might have eternal life with You. Help me never forget my need for Him each day—for His grace & mercy—and remind me daily how important it is that I seek your face above all else in striving after holiness here on earth until at last we are reunited together forevermore in Heaven Amen!