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Finding Redemption In The Midst Of Judgment
Second Sunday of Advent

from the book
Sermons on the First Readings
Series III, Cycle C

Derl G. Keefer

Malachi 3:1-4


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A vase shatters, brushed by a careless elbow; a toy breaks, handled roughly by young fingers; and fabric rips, pulled by strong angry hands. Spills and rips take time to clean up, effort to repair, and money to replace, but far more costly are shattered relationships. Unfaithfulness, untruths, hateful words, and forsaken vows tear delicate personal bonds and inflict wounds not easily healed. Most tragic, however, is a broken relationship with God.1

Malachi understood all too well the tragedy of a broken relationship with God. He saw it in his congregation, his fellow Jews. They had been in Babylonian exile. After years of deportation, the exiles returned under the leadership of their governor, Zerubbabel, they finished the temple in 516 BC. Forty-eight years later in 458 BC, the community was encouraged as several thousand more Jews and the priest, Ezra, marched back into the city.

Thirteen years later in 445 BC, King Artaxerxes permitted his cupbearer Nehemiah, to return to Jerusalem ...

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