The Lord will come
The promised messenger
1I, the LORD All-Powerful,#Mt 11.10; Mk 1.2; Lk 1.76; 7.27.
will send my messenger
to prepare the way for me.
Then suddenly the Lord
you are looking for
will appear in his temple.
The messenger you desire
is coming with my promise,
and he is on his way.
A day of change
2On the day the Lord comes, he will be like a furnace that purifies silver or like strong soap in a washbasin. No one will be able to stand up to him.#Jl 2.11; Rev 6.17. 3The LORD will purify the descendants of Levi,#3.3 descendants of Levi: The priests. as though they were gold or silver. Then they will bring the proper offerings to the LORD, 4and the offerings of the people of Judah and Jerusalem will please him, just as they did in the past.
Don't cheat God
5The LORD All-Powerful said:
I'm now on my way to judge you. And I will quickly condemn all who practise witchcraft or cheat in marriage or tell lies in court or rob workers of their pay or ill-treat widows and orphans or steal the property of foreigners or refuse to respect me.
6Descendants of Jacob, I am the LORD All-Powerful, and I never change. That's why you haven't been wiped out, 7even though you have ignored and disobeyed my laws ever since the time of your ancestors. But if you return to me, I will return to you.
And yet you ask, “How can we return?”
8You people are robbing me, your God. And, here you are, asking, “How are we robbing you?”
You are robbing me of the offerings and of the ten per cent that belongs to me.#3.8 the ten per cent…to me: The people of Israel were supposed to give a tenth of their harvests and of their flocks and herds to the LORD (see Leviticus 27.30-33; Deuteronomy 14.22-29). 9That's why your whole nation is under a curse. 10I am the LORD All-Powerful, and I challenge you to put me to the test. Bring the entire ten per cent into the storehouse, so there will be food in my house. Then I will open the windows of heaven and flood you with blessing after blessing.#3.10 open the windows…blessing: This may refer to rain, since there seems to have been a terrible drought at this time.#Lv 27.30; Nu 18.21-24; Dt 12.6; 14.22-29; Ne 13.12. 11I will also stop locusts#3.11 locusts: A kind of grasshopper that comes in swarms and causes great damage to plant life. from destroying your crops and keeping your vineyards from producing. 12Everyone of every nation will talk about how I have blessed you and about your wonderful land. I, the LORD All-Powerful, have spoken!
13You have said horrible things about me, and yet you ask, “What have we said?”
14Here is what you have said: “It's foolish to serve the LORD God All-Powerful. What do we get for obeying him and from going around looking sad? 15See how happy those arrogant people are. Everyone who does wrong is successful, and when they put God to the test, they always get away with it.”
The Lord will reward faithful people and punish those who are evil
Faithfulness is rewarded
16All those who truly respected the LORD and honoured his name started discussing these things, and when God saw what was happening, he had their names#3.16 names: Or “deeds”. written as a reminder in his book.
17Then the LORD All-Powerful said:
You people are precious to me, and when I come to bring justice, I will protect you, just as parents protect an obedient child. 18Then everyone will once again see the difference between those who obey me by doing right and those who reject me by doing wrong.