By Brooke Holt
“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. 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. 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. Then the offering of Judah and Jerusalem will be pleasing to the Lord as in the days of old and as in former years.” – Malachi 3:1-4
God has loved his people since the beginning and has made the way for us to be in relationship with him. Sadly, since the fall of Adam and Eve, people have loved sin and the things that draw them away from the Lord. As demonstrated in the fall, humans who are made in the image and likeness of God are not content with being reflections of his glory. Instead, we long to fully inhabit that glory. We long to be like him! Thus, we seek to attain perfect knowledge, power, and control. And we end up frustrated with our limitations and then often under the control of those sinful tendencies. What is to become of us?
Therein lies the great news of God’s redemption story. Despite our sinful tendencies, the Lord waits to be gracious to us (Isaiah 30:18). You can imagine the father in the story of the prodigal son. Every day he waits, watches, and longs for his son to come home—this unruly son who squandered his inheritance, who despised his father, who fell so low that he ended up feeding pigs and longing to eat their slop (an absolute abomination to Jews). This very son was the one for whom the father waited, watched, longed, and most certainly prayed every day until he was home.
That is the nature of our heavenly Father. He desperately wants you to be in relationship with him. He has always wanted that for his people. So, he called his people; he rescued them out of Egypt; he led them to the Promised land; he taught them his ways; he sent prophets to remind them of his ways. Now, one of those prophets, Malachi, tells us God is sending a messenger who will prepare the way for his Messiah.
That messenger will be more than a prophet, he will be the one who announces the arrival of the king. And this messenger was called to make the people ready. It won’t be an easy message for a wayward people, but it is still a message of hope. Sure enough, God did send the messenger—John the Baptist, and John faithfully preached a strong message of repentance. Only through that repentance and turning back to the Lord would God’s people be made ready to receive their king.
Behold, be ready, be aware, the king has come, and the king is coming back. Are you ready? Are you being refined this Advent season, turning from your sins so that you may be purified?
This is your time of preparation! May you allow that message of repentance to penetrate your heart today and every day until you see him face to face.
Take some time to ponder the reality that Jesus will come back. It may be today or tomorrow or 2,000 years from now. What is certain is that he will come again! Are you ready? If not, what can you do this season of Advent to get ready? We would love to hear your thoughts in the comments.
Most people think of Advent as a warm-up to Christmas, but actually, it's the other way around. Christmas is a preview of Advent! Through the devotional readings in Prepare the Way, we invite you to celebrate Advent again. For 28 days, join with St. Paul, King David the Psalmist, Zechariah, Gabriel, Mary, Elizabeth, and John the Baptist, along with the crowds who flocked to him as they rejoiced in the good news of Christmas, and then look beyond it for the holiday that never ends!
Comments will be approved before showing up.