Be Careful What You Wish For – Malachi 2:17-3:5

By John Bellingham on March 15, 2015
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Be Careful What You Wish For

Malachi 2:17–3:5


– The fourth dispute between God and His people as recorded by the Prophet Malachi is a dispute about Divine Justice and Human Suffering

I. Justice Demanded (2:17)

  1. The Problem of Evil
    1. If God is really good and just, why do ‘good’ people suffer injustice in this world?
    2. Israel struggled deeply with the problem of evil upon their return from exile
  2. Israel’s Theodicy: Two ‘wearying’ answers for the Problem of Evil
    1. Answer 1: Maybe God is evil
    2. Answer 2: Maybe God doesn’t care

Application:   Because we live in a fallen world that is permeated by sin, we are all confronted with the hard reality of evil and suffering:

Why do wicked people seem to prosper and good people seem to suffer?   Like Israel, we demand instant justice– but do we really understand what we’re asking for??

II. Justice Served (3:1)

  1. Preparation for God’s Justice – John the Baptist
    1. God’s promise to send ‘Elijah’ before the Day of God’s Judgment –Malachi 4:5; Isaiah 40
    2. John the Baptist came in the Spirit and Power of Elijah with a message of warning for Israel– Luke 1:11; Matthew 3:1-12
  2. Initiation of God’s Justice: Jesus’ first coming
    1. Jesus’ comes to the Temple (v. 1)
      • As a child– Luke 2:22-40
      • As a judge – John 2:13-22
    2. Jesus denounces religious hypocrisy – “For judgment I came into this world…” John 9:39
  3. Consummation of Divine Justice: Jesus’ second coming
    1. Jesus will one day execute an unparalleled judgment on His enemies – Revelation 19
    2. Jesus will judge all of humanity at the Great White Throne – Revelation 20; Matthew 24
    3.  Jesus comes to His true Temple – Rev 21:22

Application:   God’s ultimate answer to the Problem of Evil is the coming of Jesus Christ! God’s Judgment of evil has been foreshadowed in history (ie. Noah’s flood, Joshua’s conquest), it was initiated at Jesus’ first coming, and it will be fully consummated when Jesus returns for the second time.  Are you ready to face God’s justice??

III. Justice Spared (3:2-6)

“Who can endure the day of His coming?” (v. 2)

  1. With God’s Justice- Nobody!
    1. God justice does not discriminate when it comes to sin – all human sin will be judged at the Great White Throne
    2. Israel cried out for God’s justice, but was blinded by her own sin (v. 5)
    3. Because we have all sinned, the entire human race is under God’s wrath
  2. With God’s Grace – Those who trust in Christ!
    1. Jesus lived the sinless life that we can’t live
    2.  Jesus paid the death penalty for all believers –  God’s judgment fell on Jesus so that grace and mercy could fall on us!
    3. God’s fire consumes sin but refines silver

Application:  We want justice, but God offers us grace instead. Only those who trust in Jesus Christ will be able to stand firm in God’s coming judgment.


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