Part of the Advent series, preached at a Advent service
During the Advent season we hear from the prophets. Prophets are persons chosen to speak for God and to guide God’s people Israel. Prophets are said to be divinely inspired. The first week of advent we heard from Jeremiah a major prophet—the weeping prophet. On this second Sunday of Advent we hear from the prophet Malachi--the last book of the Old Testament. The book of Malachi is a fitting ending, because Malachi’s name which means “my messenger” is the last prophet of the Old Testament who prepares for the coming of Jesus (3:1).
Malachi proclaims that a holy messenger is on the way, and this announcement brings with it both a promise and a word of warning. This renewal comes through testing and cleansing. It is the refining fire that brings precious metal to light, and it is the washing with strong detergent.
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1Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: and the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to this temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, he shall come, saith the LORD of hosts. 2But who may abide the day of his coming? and who shall stand when he appeareth? for he is like a refiner's fire, and like fullers' soap: 3And he shall sit as a refiner and purifer of silver: and he shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the LORD an offering in righteousness. 4Then shall the offering of Judah and Jerusalem be pleasant unto the LORD, as in the days of old, and as in former years. (KJV)
68Blessed be the Lord God of Israel; for he hath visited and redeemed his people, 69And hath raised up an horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David; 70As he spake by the mouth of his holy prophets, which have been since the world began: 71That we should be saved from our enemies, and from the hand of all that hate us; 72To perform the mercy promised to our fathers, and to remember his holy covenant; 73The oath which he sware to our father Abraham, 74That he would grant unto us, that we being delivered out of the hand of our enemies might serve him without fear, 75In holiness and righteousness before him, all the days of our life. 76And thou, child, shalt be called the prophet of the Highest: for thou shalt go before the face of the Lord to prepare his ways; 77To give knowledge of salvation unto his people by the remission of their sins, 78Through the tender mercy of our God; whereby the dayspring from on high hath visited us, 79To give light to them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace. (KJV)