3 “I’m going to send my messenger, and he will clear the way ahead of me. Then the Lord you are looking for will suddenly come to his temple. The messenger of the promise[a] will come. He is the one you want,” says the Lord of Armies.
2 But who will be able to endure the day he comes? Who will be able to survive on the day he appears? He is like a purifying fire and like a cleansing soap. 3 He will act like a refiner and a purifier of silver. He will purify Levi’s sons and refine them like gold and silver. Then they will bring acceptable offerings to the Lord. 4 The offerings from Judah and Jerusalem will be pleasing to the Lord as in the past, as in years long ago.
5 “I will come to judge you. I will be quick to testify against sorcerers, adulterers, lying witnesses, and those who cheat workers out of their wages and oppress widows and orphans. I will also testify against those who deprive foreigners of their rights. None of them fear me,” says the Lord of Armies.
The People Are Cheating God
6 “I, the Lord, never change. That is why you descendants of Jacob haven’t been destroyed yet. 7 Since the time of your ancestors you have turned away from my laws and have not followed them. Return to me, and I will return to you,” says the Lord of Armies.
“But you ask, ‘How can we return?’
8 “Can a person cheat God? Yet, you are cheating me!
“But you ask, ‘How are we cheating you?’
“When you don’t bring a tenth of your income and other contributions. 9 So a curse is on you because the whole nation is cheating me!
10 “Bring one-tenth of your income into the storehouse so that there may be food in my house. Test me in this way,” says the Lord of Armies. “See if I won’t open the windows of heaven for you and flood you with blessings. 11 Then, for your sake, I will stop insects from eating your crops. They will not destroy the produce of your land. The vines in your fields will not lose their unripened grapes,” says the Lord of Armies. 12 “All nations will call you blessed because you will be a delightful land,” says the Lord of Armies.
13 “You have used harsh words against me,” says the Lord.
“You ask, ‘How have we spoken against you?’
14 “You have said, ‘It’s pointless to serve God. What do we gain if we meet his standards or if we walk around feeling sorry for what we’ve done? 15 So now we call arrogant people blessed. Not only are evildoers encouraged, they even test God and get away with it.’”
16 Then those who feared the Lord spoke to one another, and the Lord paid attention and listened. A book was written in his presence to be a reminder to those who feared the Lord and respected his name.
17 “They will be mine,” says the Lord of Armies. “On that day I will make them my special possession. I will spare them as a man spares his own son who serves him. 18 Then you will again see the difference between righteous people and wicked people, between the one who serves God and the one who doesn’t serve him.
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