Malachi 3

1The Lord All-Powerful says, “I am sending my messenger to prepare the way for me. Then suddenly, the Master you are looking for will come to his temple. Yes, the messenger of the ˻New˼ Agreement that you want really is coming! 2“No person can prepare for that time. No person can stand against him when he comes. He will be like a burning fire. He will be like the strong soap people use to make things clean. 3He will make the Levites clean. He will make them pure, like silver is made pure—with fire! He will make them pure like gold and silver. Then they will bring gifts to the Lord—and they will do those things the right way. 4Then the Lord will accept the gifts from Judah and Jerusalem. It will be like in the past. It will be like the time long ago. 5Then I will come to you—and I will do the right thing. I will be like a person that is ready to tell the judge about the bad things people did. Some people do evil magic. Some people do the sin of adultery. Some people make false promises. Some people cheat their workers—they don’t pay them the money they promised. People don’t help widows and orphans. People don’t help strangers. People don’t respect me!” The Lord All-Powerful said these things. 6“I am the Lord, and I don’t change. You are Jacob’s children, and you have not been completely destroyed. 7But you never obeyed my laws. Even your ancestors stopped following me. Come back to me, and I will come back to you.” The Lord All-Powerful said these things. “You say, 'How can we come back?’ 8“˻Stop stealing things from God!˼ People should not steal things from God, but you stole things from me! “You say, 'What did we steal from you?’ “You should have given me one-tenth of your things. You should have given me special gifts. ˻But you did not give those things to me.˼ 9In this way, your whole nation has stolen things from me. So bad things are happening to you.” The Lord All-Powerful said these things. 10The Lord All-Powerful says, “Try this test. Bring one-tenth of your things to me. Put those things in the treasury. Bring food to my house. Test me! If you do those things, then I will truly bless you. Good things will come to you like rain falling from the sky. You will have more than enough of everything. 11I will not let pests destroy your crops. Your grapevines will all produce grapes.” The Lord All-Powerful said these things. 12“People from other nations will be good to you. You will truly have a wonderful country.” The Lord All-Powerful said these things. 13The Lord says, “You said mean things to me.” But you ask, “What did we say about you?” 14You said, “It is useless to worship the Lord. We did the things the Lord told us— but we didn’t gain anything. We were sad ˻for our sins˼ like people crying at a funeral. But it didn’t help. 15We think proud people are happy. Evil people succeed. They do bad things to test God’s patience—and God does not punish them.” 16God’s followers spoke with each other, and the Lord listened to them. There is a book in front of him. In that book are the names of God’s followers. Those are the people that honor the Lord’s name. 17The Lord said, “Those people belong to me. I will be kind to them. A man is very kind to his children that obey him. In the same way, I will be kind to my followers. 18You people will come back to me. And you will learn the difference between good and evil. You will learn the difference between a person that follows God and a person that does not.

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