As a precursor to Chapter 3, in chapter 2 of Malachi, the people accused God of loving those who did evil. They questioned God’s willingness to execute justice for wrongdoing. Malachi responds by telling the people that God would indeed show up for judgement. He questions their ability to withstand when he would take them through the refining process.
God is a God of justice and he will not allow his people to be mistreated. Sometimes we experience trials by fire and experience persecution which God does not cause. God wants to use us for his service which requires being set apart. To carry the mantle of his anointing requires refining. Refining sometimes include going through trials by fire and tests to prepare us to carry the weight of the anointing.
“He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver, and he will purify the sons of Levi and refine them like gold and silver, and they will bring offerings in righteousness to the Lord.” (Malachi 3:3)
God is able to preserve us and to keep us safe from harm. He has promised that even when we walk through the water, that we will not be overwhelmed and through the fire, we will not burn. (Isaiah 43:2) Paul’s exposition says, “We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair;” (2 Corinthians 4:8)
What the authors are saying is that we will experience trials and testing in this life. But when we have a relationship with God he gives us the strength to endure and to overcome. So a fire that would destroy others will serve to refine us and strengthen our weaknesses. This is similar to the process of refining gold as this is a material which is built to withstand the heat of a furnace.
“But he knows the way that I take; when he has tried me, I shall come out as gold.” (Job 23:10