It’s been a while since I last wrote about my personal stories in this blog (5 years to be exact), so please bear with my rusty writings in this post. When it comes to inspiring stories or parables from the Bible, I always like the story about The Refiners’ Fire in the Book of Malachi.
Let me share a summary of the Book of Malachi (or Maleakhi in Indonesia) to give you a decent starting point. Prophet Malachi lived about a hundred years after the Israelites had returned from their Babylonian exile, and his message was directed to the people who had been living in Jerusalem for some time now.
The temple had been rebuilt a while ago and things were not going well. When the Israelites first returned from exile, their hopes were high as they would return and rebuild their lives and the temple all of the great promises of the prophets would come true. But that is not what happened.
The Israelites who repopulated the city proved to be just as unfaithful to God as their ancestors, resulting in poverty and injustice. So in Malachi, we find out just how corrupt this new generation has become. The book is designed as a series of disputes. Most sections begin with God saying something making a claim or an accusation, and then Israel will disagree or question God’s statement. Then God will respond and offer the last word. This happens six times.
In the first three disputes. God exposes Israel’s corruption and in the final three disputes he confronts their corruption. The overall impression you get from these arguments and disputes is that the exile fundamentally didn’t change anything in the people. Israel’s hearts are as hard as ever.
The book of Malachi sums up what the whole Hebrew Bible has been pointing to—God’s people cannot be faithful to the covenant. They’ve failed again and again. And while God will deal with their sin, he will not abandon them. He promises to redeem a remnant and send a Messiah to fulfill his covenant promises. The Book of Malachi is also known as the last book of the Old Testament.
During the entire Book of Malachi, there is one part of the story or parable that catches my attention.