Weekly Word from Bro. David
January 19, 2017
From The Pastor's Heart:
As we continue in the book of Malachi today we come again to Malachi 3:16-18. Throughout this entire OT book, we see God's people Going Through the Motions. They don't love God, worship Him, serve Him, or obey Him but they think because they're outwardly religious that it's enough. It's not enough. And God calls Malachi to confront these apathetic and hypocritical people.
But there's a bright spot in this book. In the midst of all the judgment and darkness, there is a ray of hope. In the midst of all the “arrogant evildoers” the Bible reveals another group of people. They are “those who feared the Lord and esteemed His name.”
No matter how dark it gets, there are still those who fear the Lord. There are still those who trust the Lord. The Bible tells us that they are recorded in the book of remembrance. 16 Then those who feared the Lord spoke to one another, And the Lord listened and heard them; So a book of remembrance was written before Him For those who fear the Lord And who meditate on His name. 17 "They shall be Mine," says the Lord of hosts, "On the day that I make them My jewels. And I will spare them As a man spares his own son who serves him." 18 Then you shall again discern Between the righteous and the wicked, Between one who serves God And one who does not serve Him.
This is the first time we have read of a positive response to the words of the Lord through the prophet Malachi. Up to this point, the responses have all been negative, as the people have doubted, questioned, and rejected God's words. But as at all times among God's people, there is a 'remnant', those within the people of God who do respond to God's words with faith and obedience. These are those who “feared the Lord and esteemed his name.”
The Bible also says that these faithful followers of God “spoke with one another.” They spoke to one another concerning the God they feared. They encouraged each other to follow faithfully, “all the more as you see the day approaching.” When iniquity was bold and barefaced, the people of God took courage and stirred up themselves. The worse others are, the better we should be; when vice is daring, let not virtue be sneaking. As evil communication corrupts good minds and manners, just so good communication confirms them.
So, God had a “book of remembrance.” “Remember” often implies an action or appears in combination with verbs of action, and some passages equate God's remembering with his mercy and forgiveness.
When God “remembers” a person, it almost always entails his action on their behalf. The point in Malachi is that God has instructed that a record be made of the righteous speech of “those who feared the Lord and esteemed his name.” This memorandum will ensure that on the future day described in the following verses, they will be rewarded.
The Bible tells us here that the way God will remember is through a book that included the names of the faithful. No matter how dark you think it is or how many problems you may be facing, God remembers you. He has you written down in His book. He sees your thoughts, your speech, and your actions. He knows your heart. This book was created as a reminder, not that God forgets, but that we need to be reminded God recognizes, sees, knows, and cares
What did the book contained vs. 17 tells us: 17 "They shall be Mine," says the Lord of hosts, "On the day that I make them My jewels. And I will spare them As a man spares his own son who serves him." If you go to the bookstore and pull a new book off the shelf you might be attracted to it because of its cover, but what keeps your attention is what's inside. And the important thing about this book is what's inside.
The Bible paints a picture of royal scribes recording names in the king's record books. These are the names of those who have been faithful to the Lord during great trials and turmoil. God says of these people, “They shall be mine, says the Lord of hosts.”
These are people who felt like they didn't belong, people who felt out of place because of the wickedness of the world in which they lived. These are people who expected their names to be revoked from the king's rolls on earth. But God promised they had a place. They belonged to Him. “They shall be mine”
This is a “book of remembrance” recording all their names, making clear their importance to the Lord. They are His “treasured possession,” they belonged to God. Many of God's faithful servants become discouraged because the times are difficult, the crowds are small, and their work seems to be unappreciated. People who aren't really walking with the Lord seem to be getting more attention than are the faithful servants. But the day will come when God will reveal His “treasured possession” and the faithful will receive their reward.
On the coming day of judgment God will make these righteous ones his own personal treasure. The term “treasured possession,” is found eight times in the Old Testament. The first is when Israel arrived at Mount Sinai and God instructed Moses to tell Israel in Exodus 19:5-6: 5 Now therefore, if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, then you shall be a special treasure to Me above all people; for all the earth is Mine. 6 And you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.' These are the words which you shall speak to the children of Israel."
Like a shepherd coming to claim his lost sheep and like a bridegroom coming for his bride, God will come to claim his people who are prepared to meet him.
One Dad told his children that they were going to create a book for their mother for Mother's Day.
He said, “I bought a little journal that she can keep forever. And the kids will each have one page every year to write, color, draw, or do whatever to that page. Then I'll put a picture of the kids in the book for that year. We'll use the book until it's full, and then get another one. What will Mom think about a book like that? I bet I know,” he said. "It will be a “treasured possession.”
Just like God says about the “book of remembrance.” It is a treasured possession because of what it contains. Because of those names that are written in this book!
Next week we will see what the book caused or the results of the book in vs. 18. 18 Then you shall again discern Between the righteous and the wicked, Between one who serves God And one who does not serve Him.