Weekly Word from Bro. David
January 26, 2017
From The Pastor's Heart:
As we continue in the book of Malachi today we come again to Malachi 3:16-18. 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.” 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.
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 big a problem you think there 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 contain? We have already seen two aspects of the book and they were: the book was created as a reminder, not that God forgets, but that we need to be reminded God recognizes, sees, knows, and cares and what the book contained. Today we see the last aspect of these verses and it is what the book caused in verse 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.
The Bible tells us here that one day God will make a “distinction between the righteous and the wicked.” This “book of remembrance” records the deeds and actions of the righteous. God has it on record! Sometimes we look at the world and we think the same thing that the people of Malachi's day were thinking: 17 You have wearied the Lord with your words; Yet you say, "In what way have we wearied Him?" In that you say, "Everyone who does evil Is good in the sight of the Lord, And He delights in them," Or, "Where is the God of justice?"
2:17, 14 You have said, 'It is useless to serve God; What profit is it that we have kept His ordinance, And that we have walked as mourners Before the Lord of hosts? 15 So now we call the proud blessed, For those who do wickedness are raised up; They even tempt God and go free.' “ 3:14-15
But God is taking note. He doesn't miss a moment. It's all recorded in His book. And He will not forget!
This book will cause two things. First it will bring mercy upon the “one who serves God” and secondly it will show that judgment is just upon “one who does not serve Him.” The Lord promises that a day is coming when these complainers will see how wrong they were.
God's destructive judgment will not be total, merciless, or indiscriminate because he will spare those who fear him, thus making a distinction between the righteous and the wicked. On that day those who have placed their hope in him will not be put to shame.
Dr. Wilder Penfield, director of the Montreal Neurological Institute, said in a report to the Smithsonian Institute: “Your brain contains a permanent record of your past that is like a single continuous strip of movie film, complete with sound tract. This ‘film library’ records your whole waking life from childhood on. You can live again those scenes from your past, one at a time, when a surgeon applies a gentle electrical current to a certain point on the temporal cortex of your brain.” The report goes on to say that as you relive the scene from your past, you feel exactly the same emotions that you did during the original experience.
God doesn't forget. It's all written down in the “book of remembrance.” Whether that's good or bad depends on which side you're on: the “righteous” or the “wicked.”