Hope (Advent Week 2)

Alissa Morrisson

Hope (Advent Week 2)

Refining means to remove impurities, to clarify and to cleanse. Do you consider yourself someone that needs refining? Well, we all should because we all do. We all need to be refined into more of the image of Jesus. 

Malachi 3
1 “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. 2 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. 3 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, 4 and the offerings of Judah and Jerusalem will be acceptable to the Lord, as in days gone by, as in former years.

This prophesied messenger is John the Baptist. At the end of Malachi 2, Israel complained that God seemed to reward the wicked and questioned why there was no justice. God’s response in Malachi 3:1 is that He will set things right with His Messiah, but before the Messiah will come His messenger. In Matthew 11:10-11, Jesus quotes this Malachi verse as He says, “For this is he of whom it is written: ‘Behold, I send My messenger before Your face, who will prepare Your way before You.’ Assuredly, I say to you, among those born of women there has no risen one greater than John the Baptist.”

In an ancient royal procession, the messenger went before the King to announce his arrival, to indicate the route, and to remove any obstacles in the road. John the baptist fulfilled this ministry for Jesus. The central theme of John the Baptist’s ministry was, “Repent, for the Kingdom of heaven is near” (Matthew 3:2). He was called “The Baptist” because he baptized people who responded to the message and repented of their sins. John the Baptist prepared the way for Jesus coming to earth. 

The coming of this second messenger, Jesus, will be great, and yet terrible, but with a purpose.

“He is like a refiner’s fire and like launderer’s soap” (Malachi 3:2). Both the launderer and the refiner work to clean, not to destroy. The refiner’s fire is used to melt down metal so that impurities can be removed. The beauty of this image described in verse 2 is that when you look into completely refined silver, you see your reflection. The refiner is carefully working with the silver, burning off and scraping away all the impurities with the purpose of it becoming so clean that a reflection is shown. The same thing happens with us. God gave us the Holy Spirit who is constantly seeking to purify and refine us. There is a purpose to this refinement and that is so that we can look more like Jesus.

What we need to understand is that when we seek God, we are seeking a fire that will test us and consume all that we are.

He will come and save us from our sins, which means if you believe in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, you are taking him as a purger and purifier. Why? It is His desire to refine us, to shape us and mold us into how He designed humans to be.

God’s desire is to refine us, yet we have to choose to let Him refine us.

What I mean is that we can read Christian books, listen to Christian podcasts, go to our bible study groups, attend church on Sunday mornings, and still choose to not be refined. Everyday God is calling us to Him, wanting us to be with Him and soak in His presence, wanting to refine us in the fire of His love. Yet, so often we choose to not allow Him to. 

Jeremiah 7:23-24 But I gave them this command: Obey me, and I will be your God and you will be my people. Walk in obedience to all I command you, that it may go well with you. 24 But they did not listen or pay attention; instead, they followed the stubborn inclinations of their evil hearts. They went backward and not forward.

To move forward in becoming the image of Jesus, we have to allow God to do a work in us. It is not fun for our impurities to be exposed, and it is certainly not fun to be uncomfortable. 

The truth is, the refining happens in the uncomfortable, in the waiting, and in the surrender. 

So many of us choose comfort, patience, and pride instead. There is obedience in daily asking God to do this work in you because you are acknowledging His power and authority and Lordship in your life. 

In this season of advent, as we prepare our hearts for Jesus, how is God wanting to refine you? What is holding you back from letting Him take you to the uncomfortable? 

If the altar is where you meet us

Take me there, take me there

What you need is just an offering

It’s right here, my life is here

And I’ll be a living sacrifice for you

You’re a fire

The refiner

I wanna be consumed

I wanna be tried by fire

Purified

You take whatever you desire

Lord here’s my life

 

“Refiner” written by Chandler Moore

© Capitol Cmg Paragon, Songs By Moworks