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December 12 – Christ: the refiner of the sons of Levi

“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.” – Malachi 3:3 

Scripture reading: Malachi 3:1-5

In the Chronicles of Narnia, a boy confronts the lion, Aslan, for the first time. The child is terrified by the great lion. About Aslan it is said: “He is not a tame lion.” At Christmas the world acts like Jesus is impotent and safe; they do not perceive that He is like a refiner’s fire. Unrepentant sinners have reason to fear the Lion of the tribe of Judah.

In Malachi, it was predicted that Christ’s coming would be a dreadful and fearsome thing. He would destroy the wicked and purify His people. In Malachi’s day the covenant people needed refining. Men had divorced their covenant wives to marry pagan women. Even the priests of God had become corrupt; they offered blind, lame and sick animals. The sons of Levi needed to be purified.

Christ is like the hot, burning fire of a refiner. He is also like a refiner who heats metals to separate the dross and impurities from precious metals. Malachi warns that when Christ comes, He will apply heat to His covenant people. He will burn up the proud and self-righteous. He will purify the poor in spirit.

The unbelieving Jews could not abide the day of Christ’s coming. Jesus judged the covenant people in A.D. 70 when the third temple was destroyed. Nevertheless, Jesus redeemed and purified an elect remnant. Since New Testament Christians need to be a holy priesthood, the Saviour also needs to purify us so that we would worship Him in spirit and in truth.

Suggestions for prayer

Pray that the Lord would use trials to purify you. Pray that the Lord would apply sufficient heat during afflictions and chastisements so that your pet sins, which so closely adhere to you, might be burned away.

Rev. Nathan Brummel is Professor of Systematic Theology and New Testament at Divine Hope Reformed Bible Seminary, and an associate pastor at Immanuel United Reformed Church in DeMotte, Indiana. Get this devotional delivered directly to your phone each day via our RP App. It is also available in print, for purchase, at NTGDevotional.com.

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