Return from Exile Malachi 3 (5)
Pray Psalm 119.105, 106.
Your word is a lamp to my feet
And a light to my path.
I have sworn and confirmed
That I will keep Your righteous judgments.
Sing Psalm 119.105, 106
(Slane: Be Thou My Vision)
Your Word a lamp is to brighten my way.
LORD, from Your pathway let me never stray!
I give my word now as I have before:
Your righteous Law I will keep evermore.
Read Malachi 3.1-16; meditate on verse 16.
1. To whom did the LORD listen? What does Malachi say about these people?
2. What was done next?
There is always a remnant of the faithful, even in the most compromised and captive of times. In Malachi’s day, as in every generation, there were those who “feared the LORD”. These spoke with one another, and we can understand this to mean they did so frequently. God was listening in on their conversations. We can only imagine what must have been discussed.
Surely they lamented the deplorable state of things in Judah and Jerusalem. They must have prayed for themselves and their neighbors. Perhaps they studied the Law together and encouraged one another to stand firm in the LORD. It seems that some of their time was taken up in silent meditation, contemplating the beauty of the LORD and communing sweetly with Him. Prayer, worship, reading, discussion, meditation, and mutual encouragement and edification. If you don’t have a group like this, find one.
Because God will be listening and watching as you gather to renew your devotion to Him and His Word. You might even write a “book of remembrance” for yourselves, as this group seems to have done (The text does not say that God wrote this book. The verb is deliberately passive: a book of remembrance was written.) Was this written as a set of vows? A list of commitments, signed-off on? Minutes of their meetings? Whatever this book was, it was written “before” the LORD, that is, unto Him, perhaps like Bach, who signed many of his musical compositions with the initials, SDG—soli deo gloria.
A remnant of the faithful exists in every generation. If you find some who faithfully seek God in His Word, obey His Law, meditate on Him, and fear Him, make yourself a part of their effort. God will hear. God will see. And God will confirm that you belong to Him (v. 17).
Treasures Old and New: Matthew 13.52; Psalm 119.162
Our son Casey had an imaginary friend named Joey, and I used to love overhearing the conversations they would have together. (As an aside, Joey subsequently fell into a volcano in Hawaii, never to be heard from again; but when he existed, there was deep communion.) And I enjoyed hearing the fellowship.
I sense that same enjoyment from God whilst “overhearing” us. How tender. How sweet. That He loves to listen to and hear our conversations with others about Him. About His Law and about the gift of His Son and the guarantee of His Holy Spirit. He is there with us, as a parent, listening intently to us, His children, talk. “Then those who feared the LORD spoke to one another, and the LORDlistened and heard them…” (Mal. 3.16). I’m not sure it gets any better than that! Amazing.
Church is church, and I’m not here to bash it, but there are other forms of “gathering together” that suffice (Heb. 13.25). And this is one of them.
“Thus says the Lord GOD: ‘Although I have cast them off among the Gentiles, and although I have scattered them among the countries, yet I shall be a little sanctuary for them in the countries where they have gone’” (Ez. 11.16). A little sanctuary. We can experience that with other believers who fear the LORD. “For where two or three are gathered together in My Name, I AM there in the midst of them” (Matt. 18.20).
Often, when speaking with family and friends on the phone, the time together becomes a glorious time of worship with our God and Savior. Two worshiping together before Him. And being listened to and heard by Him.
Mind, this is good news and bad. He listens. He hears. Everything.
What about the conversations we have that we’d rather not be written in a book of remembrance?
Well, He hears those too.
Those who fear the LORD, meditate on His Word, and talk with others who believe the same, can scrapbook all those conversations with joy and gladness, knowing that we have honored Him, and He has overheard.
And enjoyed it.
1. Why is it so important that you have friends with whom you can worship and talk about the Lord?
2. What do you think you might contribute to such a group, that God would hear you with delight?
3. How might keeping a “book of remembrance” encourage you in your walk with and work for the Lord?
There were other voices, those of people who did place themselves under the Law, those who feared the Lord. God did not ignore those who were faithful to Him. A book of remembrance: God never forgets His promises. God teaches us to remember and value the good that people do (Phil. 4:8); He does the same as He commands us. Earl Radmacher (1933-2014), NKJV Study Bible Note on Malachi 3.16
Pray Psalm 119.109-112.
Commit your life this day to the Lord. Call on Him to incline your heart to obey His Word. Take His Word with you into the day by praying about each activity ahead of you. Trust the Lord to keep you through adversity, temptation, and trials.
Sing Psalm 119.109-112
(Slane: Be Thou My Vision)
Daily I take up my life in my hand,
working to keep to Your gracious command.
Let not the wicked turn me from Your way;
I from Your precepts, O LORD, will not stray.
I take Your Word as the joy of my heart,
my trust, my heritage, my special part.
I bend my heart to fulfill all Your Word,
always, forever, to serve You, O LORD.
T. M. and Susie Moore
Two books can help us understand our own captivity and lead us to seek revival and renewal in the Lord. The Church Captive asks us to consider the ways the Church today has become captive to the world. And Revived! can help us find the way to renewal. Learn more and order your free copies by clicking here and here.
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Except as indicated, all Scriptures are taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. For sources of all quotations, see the weekly PDF of this study. All psalms for singing are from The Ailbe Psalter, available free by clicking here.