Come, thou long expected Jesus
Lift up your hands, ye mighty gates
O come, all ye faithful
Good Christian men, rejoice
Joy to the world
While shepherds watched their flock by night
(Malachi 3:1-4 ESV)
People often have a small view of God. Picking and choosing what they wish to believe. Thinking God is the bringer only of good things.
Malachi faced this same way of thinking. The people of Israel were back in their own land after years of exile. They thought all was good again, so good in fact they had grown weary in worship. They went through the motions without honouring what God called for. They hadn't turned away from God but their worship was anemic. Their attitude.. Those who do evil are good and where is God?
They had forgotten who God truly was.
God gave his answer.
"behold I send my messenger to prepare the way."
BUT this messenger will call for repentance.
This messenger prepared people for God.
This was a sign of God's care. The messenger prepares the way, turning their hearts to God.
So that when God comes they won't be destroyed in the purifying fire.
God will come suddenly.
God will come as a refining fire.
God will come as fuller's soap.
But the people didn't expect the messenger that God sent.
And this message wasn't just for the weak but for the believers as well.
Jesus wasn't sending someone safe. The Lord's coming wasn't safe. It was a time of change and judgement.
Let us not wonder what the profit is in worship. Let us see worship as a time to see God and to look forward to his coming.
The heat from the purifying process is so hot you need protective gear to survive. It's job is to destroy impurities.
Fuller's soap is a harsh soap meant to remove dirt. It removes it all.
Let us not forget that Jesus is not just another baby. He is God in the flesh. The angels praised God for him. Jesus is the refiners fire. Jesus is that fuller's soap. He is the purifier. He is the refiner.
Jesus will face that fire and that soap if we trust in him. This is what Christmas points us too.
Refined gold will clearly show the face of the one refining it.