Malachi 3

The special person comes as a judge

1 ‘Look! I will send someone to speak my message. He will prepare the way before me. Then the Lord that you are waiting for will quickly return to his temple. The one who brings the message about the covenant will certainly come. He is the one that you really want to see.’

That is what the Lord Almighty says.

2 ‘But when he comes, he will be like a hot fire that makes metal pure. He will be like strong soap that makes clothes completely clean. Nobody will be able to stand in front of him when he appears. On that day, nobody will remain the same. 3 He will work like a man who uses a hot fire to make gold and silver pure. He will make the Levites clean and pure. He will remove their dirt. Then they can offer proper sacrifices to the Lord. 4 The Lord will accept the gifts that the people of Judah and Jerusalem offer to him. He will be happy with them as he was in earlier times.

3:2The purpose of the hot fire is not to destroy the metal but to make it pure. So on this difficult day the Lord will remove from people everything that is not good.

5 At that time, I will come among you as your judge. I will speak clearly against those who have done wrong things. I will punish the magicians, the adulterers and those who tell lies against other people. I will punish those who cheat their workers, or they deceive widows or children who have no family. And I will punish those who do not help foreigners who live among them. People who do those things show that they do not respect me.’

That is what the Lord Almighty says.

The Israelites are robbing God

6 ‘I am the Lord and I do not change. Because of my promises to my people, I have not destroyed you, descendants of Jacob. 7 I have told you my commands. But you do not listen to me any longer. You have not obeyed me, even since the time of your ancestors. Now, return to me! Then I will return to bless you.’

That is what the Lord Almighty says.

‘But you ask, “How do we return to you?”

8 I say to you, “A man should not rob God. But you are robbing me.”

But you ask, “How do we rob you?”

I say, “You do not give to me the tithes and the offerings that you should give.” 9 Yes, all of you are robbing me. The whole nation of Israel is guilty. So you will receive the punishment of a curse.

10 Now you must bring the whole tithe that belongs to me. Store it in my temple, so that there will be food in my house. Obey me and then see what I will do.’

That is what the Lord Almighty says.

‘You will see how much I will bless you! You will not have enough room to store all the good things that I will give to you. I will pour blessings out of the sky like rain. 11 I will stop insects from eating your crops. The grapes will not fall from your vines before they are ready to eat. 12 You will be happy to live in your land. The people of all the other nations will see that God has blessed you.’

That is what the Lord Almighty says.

3:12The temple is where the Israelites worshipped God. The Israelites had to give some of their crops to take care of it. They also had to give something to the priests and the Levites, because they worked there. Each year they gave one part in ten (a tithe) of the crops and money that they had received. They could give more if they wanted to.

13 ‘You have spoken bad words against me,’ says the Lord.

‘But you ask, “What have we said against you?”

14 You have said, “We serve God, but that has not helped us at all. We are careful to do what he tells us to do. When we do wrong things, we have sad faces to show the Lord Almighty that we are sorry. 15 But it is proud people that God blesses! Yes, it is the people who do evil things who become rich! God does not even punish people who like to test him. That is what we think.” ’

The great day of the Lord

16 Then the people who respected the Lord talked to each other. The Lord listened to what they said. While the Lord watched, someone wrote names on a scroll. Those were the names of the people who worshipped the Lord, and they respected the Lord's name. They wrote down their names so that people would remember them.

17 The Lord Almighty says, ‘These people will belong to me. One day I will come to judge everyone. At that time I will bring together all my own special people. I will not punish them. I will take care of them, like a father takes care of his son who serves him. 18 Because of that, you will see again that I am kind to good people, but I punish wicked people. I show the difference between people who serve me well and those who do not.’