In chapter 3, Malachi goes on to give the people hope that they are not worshipping God in vain and that those who do evil will see justice.
“’See, I will send my messenger, who will prepare the way before me. Then suddenly the Lord you are seeking will come to his temple; the messenger of the covenant, whom you desire, will come,’ says the Lord Almighty. But who can endure the day of his coming? Who can stand when he appears? For he will be like a refiner’s fire or a launderer’s soap. He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver; he will purify the Levites and refine them like gold and silver. Then the Lord will have men who will bring offerings in righteousness, and the offerings of Judah and Jerusalem will be acceptable to the Lord, as in days gone by, as in former years.
‘So I will come near to you for judgment. I will be quick to testify against sorcerers, adulterers and perjurers, against those who defraud laborers of their wages, who oppress the widows and the fatherless, and deprive aliens of justice, but do not fear me,’ says the Lord Almighty.”
This isn’t the type of thing that we like to hear in church. We don’t like fire and brimstone messages and don’t respond well to them. We like to hear about the love of God. We like the image of God as the father welcoming the return of the prodigal son. We shudder to think of God as the one who has a sword coming out of his mouth that will strike his enemies dead. The two images seem totally incongruous and a wrathful and vengeful God is politically incorrect in today’s day and age.
God’s justice is something that we should celebrate however. God’s justice is something we should look forward to. In the book of Psalms, David wrote some very horrible sounding things about God’s justice. Psalm 55:15, “Let death take my enemies by surprise; let them go down alive to the grave for evil finds lodging among them.” Psalm 68 begins, “May God arise, may his enemies be scattered; may his foes flee before him. As smoke is blown away by the wind, may you blow them away; as wax melts before the fire, may the wicked perish before God.” And Psalm 35:7-9 “Since they hid a net for me without cause and without cause dug a pit for me, may ruin overtake them by surprise – may the net they hid entangle them, may the fall into the pit, to their ruin. Then my soul will rejoice in the Lord and delight in his salvation.”
If God did not judge the wicked, what would the point of salvation be? Why would anyone desire to follow God if they could live as they wanted and expect no consequences from their actions? There are many people who believe that there will be no judgment and no consequences for their actions. There are even people who call themselves Christians who will not accept the fact that God is a God of justice. Some believe that all will go to heaven regardless of the life they have lived. That God loves us all so much that he can look the other way in regard to our unforgiven sins. These people who call themselves Christians and believe that God will not judge the wicked, I simply ask one thing. “Who among them expects to have the room in heaven next to Adolf Hitler?” God’s judgment is a good thing, even if we try to ignore it.