Thoughtful Action: Discussion from Sunday's Sermon

God’s Love and Eventual Justice

Malachi 2:17-3:5

 

Malachi 2:17–3:5 (ESV)

17 You have wearied the Lord with your words. But you say, “How have we wearied him?” By saying, “Everyone who does evil is good in the sight of the Lord, and he delights in them.” Or by asking, “Where is the God of justice?”

1 “Behold, I send my messenger, and he will prepare the way before me. And the Lord whom you seek will suddenly come to his temple; and the messenger of the covenant in whom you delight, behold, he is coming, says the Lord of hosts.

2 But who can endure the day of his coming, and who can stand when he appears? For he is like a refiner’s fire and like fullers’ soap.

3 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.

4 Then the offering of Judah and Jerusalem will be pleasing to the Lord as in the days of old and as in former years.

5 “Then I will draw near to you for judgment. I will be a swift witness against the sorcerers, against the adulterers, against those who swear falsely, against those who oppress the hired worker in his wages, the widow and the fatherless, against those who thrust aside the sojourner, and do not fear me, says the Lord of hosts.

 

1.     If it is appropriate to share with your group, what are some on the injustices you’ve faced in life that have caused a real spiritual struggle for you? (Personal note: For me, some of the ones I struggle with the most regard the persecution of believers in distant parts of this world.)

2.     What biblical truths have helped you experience victory over those injustices to this point?

3.     Why is it hard to remember that God loves you when you suffer injustice? 

a.     What are you tempted to think about God according to 2:17?

b.     What are some essential historical events that you must learn to view everything through, especially injustice?

c.      How does Malachi 1:2ff help to answer this question?

d.     Does the illustration of looking through a stained glass window that represents God’s love help you to understand that the most important thing is not the injustice but God’s love for you?

4.     It is very challenging to be patient when injustice goes unpunished.  But that is what God asks us to do.

a.     What does he ask us to be patient for in 3:1?

b.     What does Psalm 73:16-17 teach is necessary in order for us to be patient as we ought to be?

c.      Do you really believe that Jesus is going to come again and right all wrongs?  What difference does this make in your life?

5.     It is absolutely essential that we remember how gracious God is to his people when you consider the many unaccounted for injustices in this world.

a.     Why is it so easy to focus on the wrongs “out there” as opposed to the wrongs “in here” (referring to your own heart)?  Why is it so easy to justify the sins of our own hearts and at the same time so difficult to forgive the sins of others?

b.     Can you elaborate on the illustrations of “refiner’s fire” and “fuller’s soap” that Malachi uses to help others understand this?

c.      What truth(s) does the law of God remind us every time we look into it?  How does James 1:25 help illustration and answer that question?

d.     People who are aware of grace are usually both gracious and evangelistic.  Why is that so?