Refiner's Fire

Kevin DeYoung

READ : Malachi 2:17-3:5

So I will come near to you for judgment. (v. 5, NIV)

The Israelites were accusing God of turning a blind eye to sin. They wanted him to strike down the wicked like in the good old days. How surprised they must have been when the Lord, granting their request, promised to come near to them for judgment. The Israelites had a bad case of foot-in-mouth disease. They had the “gift” of knowing exactly what was wrong with the world. It was simple—the problem was always somebody else. They never thought that asking God to fix things might entail God “fixing” them.

Thankfully, the Lord didn’t come just for judgment. He came to purify, to refine. He came to make covenant keepers out of covenant breakers. God came to beat and hammer the silver until he could see his reflection in it. Godliness comes only through the refiner’s fire.

If we want to become holy, if we want God’s presence with us, it might mean hardship and rebuke. I know I for one need a lot of pounding and refining before I’m going to shine. But only those who have been purified will be able to stand on the day of the Lord. So let us say with David, “It was good for me to be afflicted so that I might learn your decrees” (Psalm 119:71).


Turn our eyes from vain things and make us pure. Amen.