The problem of vindicating divine justice is addressed. How can God be just and loving in the presence of so much evil? The people think that the Lord favors those who do evil. How, therefore, can he be considered to be just (2:17)?
The prophet answers with an affirmation that God is not unmindful of the circumstances facing his people. He has a messenger who will come. (Is this the origin of the name for the prophet?) The Lord will appear in his temple. The people will get their desire. But will they be able to endure the day of his coming (3:2)? The purpose of the Day of Judgment is to purge and refine in order that the worship of Yahweh in Jerusalem will be restored to its former purity (vv. 2-3). Social and moral evils perpetrated against the innocent will be rectified. This moral judgment coming within the events of their history is a part of the revelation God has graciously given to his people (Eichrodt, 382). God is shown as more than protector of the rights and privileges of his people. In the context of judgment and revelation, the prophet confronts Israel with the fact of the moral character of Yahweh (Eichrodt, 382).