Friday, December 6, 2013

Day 6-7 (5): He Shall Purify - Scene 2 (6-7)

Take the next two days to meditate on these movements


Scene 2b - "The prophecy of the coming of Messiah and the question, despite, of what this may portend for the World" 

6. Aria (Alto) 

But who may abide the day of His coming? and who shall stand when he appeareth? For he is like a refiner's fire. (Malachi 3:2)

(Note: This aria was originally written for a bass [as you will hear in the MIT recording], but Handel rewrote this part for the great Guadagni [a castrated male who sang in the mezzo-soprano/countertenor range]. Today, alto women sing this aria also.) 
7. Chorus

And He shall purify the sons of Levi, that they may offer unto the Lord an offering in righteousness. (Malachi 3:3)


Malachi 3

As you learned yesterday, Jesus, the messenger of the covenant, would bring His Shekinah glory (manifest presence of God) to earth.  We can think of the comfort that brings, but it can also bring fear because He is also a God of justice (Malachi 2:17). 

Malachi's message speaks of the "Day of the Lord" which will be a day of judgment of the whole world (Isaiah 2:12; Joel 3:11-16; Amos 5:18-21; Zechariah 1:14-18; Malachi 4:1). This is a day when the wicked will not endure before the presence of the Lord.

He will be like a refiner's fire that burns away dross from metal ores and launderer's soap that will cleanse and purify the Levite priests (leaders) of Israel. This was so they could offer clean, acceptable sacrifices (Mark 9:3; Revelation 3:5)In addition to the priests, He will judge the rest of the nation and purge it of its sin. While it is a day of judgment for those who reject Him, it will be a day of comfort and joy for the faithful as they look forward to an eternity in His presence!

I LOVE how the voices in the chorus crescendo and sing together "and that they may offer unto the Lord" then go back softly to "an offering of righteousness." So beautiful. 

The ultimate goal is an offering to Him, but He cannot violate His holiness and justice. Because of God's mercy, we are to offer up ourselves as living, holy sacrifices, pleasing to Him; but refinement is part of the process toward that beautiful crescendo of righteousness (Romans 12:1). 


God's holy, refining presence can be a terrifying thing. These verses remind me of when Peter, James, and John were on the high mountain with Jesus during His transfiguration, a voice came out of a bright, overshadowing cloud, and they were "terrified" until the voice said, "Listen to Him!" Then they only saw Jesus (Matthew 17:1-6). While there was terror in the manifest presence of God (Who could stand? They didn't!), there was also the touch of Jesus who said "Get up, and do not be afraid." Terror with a touch; I like that.

We have to get to a point in our walk with Jesus where we see His purification as a part of His plan for our good!

God’s will for you is that you be the best person possible. When you are less than your best, God is wounded, and you have little joy. His passing of judgment is for the purpose of restoring you to your true value, your best self. If he were not a God of judgment, he would not be a God of love. For love wills that you turn to the light, and woos you with love until you do so.

Handel’s Messiah: A Devotional Commentary, p. 24

The ultimate goal is the offering of acceptable sacrifices.  It really is a win-win for us and Him.


What are you going to do with this new revelation in your heart?

Traditionally, the Advent period was a time of self-examination and purging of sin so that we could be prepared to receive Him at Christmas. This might be an appropriate time to do so.

Investigate my life, O God,
find out everything about me;
Cross-examine and test me,
get a clear picture of what I’m about;
See for yourself whether I’ve done anything wrong
-- then guide me on the road to eternal life.
The Message (Ps 139:23–24)
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