Malachi Chapter 3

1 “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; and the messenger of the covenant in whom you delight, behold, he is coming, says the Lord of hosts. 2 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 fullers’ soap. 3 He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver, and he will purify the sons of Levi and refine them like gold and silver, and they will bring offerings in righteousness to the Lord. 4 Then the offering of Judah and Jerusalem will be pleasing to the Lord as in the days of old and as in former years.

5 “Then I will draw near to you for judgment. I will be a swift witness against the sorcerers, against the adulterers, against those who swear falsely, against those who oppress the hired worker in his wages, the widow and the fatherless, against those who thrust aside the sojourner, and do not fear me, says the Lord of hosts.

Robbing God
6 “For I the Lord do not change; therefore you, O children of Jacob, are not consumed. 7 From the days of your fathers you have turned aside from my statutes and have not kept them. Return to me, and I will return to you, says the Lord of hosts. But you say, ‘How shall we return?’ 8 Will man rob God? Yet you are robbing me. But you say, ‘How have we robbed you?’ In your tithes and contributions. 9 You are cursed with a curse, for you are robbing me, the whole nation of you. 10 Bring the full tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. And thereby put me to the test, says the Lord of hosts, if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you a blessing until there is no more need. 11 I will rebuke the devourer for you, so that it will not destroy the fruits of your soil, and your vine in the field shall not fail to bear, says the Lord of hosts. 12 Then all nations will call you blessed, for you will be a land of delight, says the Lord of hosts.
13 “Your words have been hard against me, says the Lord. But you say, ‘How have we spoken against you?’ 14 You have said, ‘It is vain to serve God. What is the profit of our keeping his charge or of walking as in mourning before the Lord of hosts? 15 And now we call the arrogant blessed. Evildoers not only prosper but they put God to the test and they escape.’

The Book of Remembrance
16 Then those who feared the Lord spoke with one another. The Lord paid attention and heard them, and a book of remembrance was written before him of those who feared the Lord and esteemed his name. 17 “They shall be mine, says the Lord of hosts, in the day when I make up my treasured possession, and I will spare them as a man spares his son who serves him. 18 Then once more you shall see the distinction between the righteous and the wicked, between one who serves God and one who does not serve him.

My bible’s commentary for 3:1-6

 God’s judgment is coming against all kinds of sin (3:5), yet who can endure the day of his coming (3:2)? Strict justice would condemn us all.

     The good news comes from Jacob’s personal experience with God(3:6). He couldn’t have survived justice: it would have destroyed him. Instead, Jacob received God’s grace because God had chosen him in the beginning(See 1:1-5). We too are fickle and unfaithful, undeserving of God’s love. God remains faithful, however, because he cannot deny himself. 
(2 Tim. 2:12-13)  if we endure, we will also reign with him; if we deny him, he also will deny us; 13 if we are faithless, he remains faithful—for he cannot deny himself.
The refiner’s fire purifies us because it first burned Jesus; the launderer’s soap washes us clean because its painful sting was borne by Christ. Only when we understand that, can we truly rejoice to see holy Jesus coming to take possession of his temple.

3:7-12
God promises to bless (as he knows is best) generous giving to his purposes, and also to bring consequences upon the miserly (vv. 8-12) As an annual obligation to give the Lord ten percent of the produce of the land, the tithe belongs to the Sinai covenant. It teaches us general principles of giving but the obligation is transformed in key ways with the coming of Christ. Christianity radicalizes the source of the tithe: now the whole of life, not just agricultural produce, is explicitly under the lordship of God. Christian giving should still be proportional (1 Cor. 16:2), willing, and generous.

(2 Cor. 9:7) Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.

A particular proportion is not specified in the New Testament, but it would be strange to give less in the new age of the gospel, this side of Christ’s coming.

     Our giving is also a diagnostic window into how we view God. If we see God as the gracious giver of all good gifts, we will desire to excel in the “grace” of giving (cf 2 Cor. 8:7). If we view him as a hard taskmaster whose service is a burden, however, it will be visible in our reluctant giving. The issue is our attitude, not the amount.

     Through it all, we remember Jesus, who “though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you by his poverty might become rich” (2 Cor. 8:9). We are cheerfully generous not in order to pay God back, but in light of his great and lavish generosity toward us. What else could we do?

3:13-17

Unbelievers think serving God is worthless.  Believers may be tempted to think likewise because of the difficulty of their circumstances.  Yet God views the two groups differently.  Those who fear the Lord are his treasured possession (Ex19:6).  Because the Lord knows them, their final destiny is peace.

God loves us even as we continue sinning.  He will never stop loving us, but we need to continue to ask for forgiveness.  In the discussion about giving, I think the most important point, is not how much, but what kind of attitude we have when we give, whether it be money, property, or the giving of our time.  He wants us always to be a joyful giver.  None of the ‘I’ve got to give this’ or ‘I’ve got to do this.’ He always knows what is in our hearts so he knows if we are giving out of love or because we feel we have to. He only wants what we can joyfully give. He doesn’t want it if it is not joyfully given and if we aren’t giving enough, He will surely let us know.

I wish everyone a very blesssed day.

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