"He will sit as a smelter and purifier of silver, and He will purify the sons of Levi and refine them like gold and silver, so that they may present to the LORD offerings in righteousness.Malachi 3:3(NASB)
The Lord chose the children of Israel to be His special, covenant people. They were called-out from among all the peoples of the earth to be a holy nation. They were to be a peculiar people who were set-apart unto God. They were to be separate and distinct from all the gentile nations.. and they promised to follow all that God had told them to do. The nation of Israel was to be the tool which God used to circumnavigate the evil ways of Satan.. in order to demonstrate to the gentiles that the nation whose God is the Lord is a blessed nation indeed.
They were to be a light to lighten the gentiles and a righteous people who would tell forth the wonderful works of God, so that the nations would know that God is the Lord and be saved by faith in Him. But Israel refused to do God's will and walked in the idolatrous ways of the pagan nations. They worshipped other gods and denied the Lord Who brought them out of the land of Egypt. God's chosen people apostatised and did evil in the sight of the Lord and as a result, God had to punish the errant nation of Israel, for they had broken their covenant.. and had forsaken the way of the Lord their God.
Their priests, who were the descendants of Levi were also an abomination to the Lord. They mingled with the gentiles and the people delighted in unseemly exploits and mixed marriages with their ungodly neighbours. They all forsook the ways of the Lord and denied God's goodness, justice, holiness and mercy.
For generations they backslid into many apostate and ungodly ways. They robbed God of that which was rightfully His and their ongoing depravity and moral decline caused God to have to carry out the severe punishment.. about which He had warned them at mount Sinai, so many years before - when they first promised: all that God has said we will do!!!
And so we read that God was to sit as a Smelter and Purifier of silver and judge Israel's evil ways. God would try His chosen nation in the same way that a silversmith tries, tests and purifies silver. He passes it through the refining fires of judgement to burn away the dross and to leave purified silver. It would be a spiritual purging which would purify the people and priests of Israel. It would remove all ungodly dross and worldly ways from their midst - producing high-quality, refined and purified silver or gold.
The Levitical priesthood were descendants from the priestly tribe of Levi, whose role was to represent the people before the Lord and who had been selected to be God's mouthpiece to the people. And yet they too were altogether corrupt and denied the Lord Who brought them out of the land of Egypt. They too were to be refined like gold and silver so that they would be able to present to the Lord offerings in holy righteousness - with a heart that is purified before the Lord.
How easy it is for us in this Church age to look back to this time in Israel's history with critical contempt for their failure to walk in the ways of God and to so openly deny the Lord Who bought them - and yet as we look at our own lives and the sorry state of the Church as a whole - we can only bemoan the spiritual condition in which we find ourselves today, and cry out to the Lord to search the inner recesses of our very being and to purify our hearts in the refining fires of His holy righteousness.
Heavenly Father, how we praise and thank You that You are the same yesterday, today and forever. Thank You that Your promises to both Israel and the Church are fixed in heaven because of Your goodness and faithfulness. Forgive us for the way that we have gone against You and followed after our own foolish ways and desires. Search my heart I pray and may I be cleansed and made pure in my inner being. Thank You that You have promised that in Christ I shall come forth as purified gold and silver ..to Your praise and glory, in Jesus name I pray. AMEN.