Return from Exile: Malachi 3 (6)
Pray Psalm 85.4-6.
Restore us, O God of our salvation,
And cause Your anger toward us to cease.
Will You be angry with us forever?
Will You prolong Your anger to all generations?
Will You not revive us again,
That Your people may rejoice in You?
Sing Psalm 85.4-6.
(Lyons: O Worship the King)
Restore us, O God, renew us in peace,
and cause all Your wrath against us to cease.
Will You evermore all Your wrath to us show?
Revive us that we may Your joy again know.
Read Malachi 3.1-18; meditate on verses 17, 18.
1. What did God promise concerning His people?
2. What would be the effect of this?
O, the deep, deep love God has for His people! They lie to Him, cut corners with Him, excuse their bad behavior, encourage the wicked, and corrupt the worship due Him. But He keeps coming back to them, promising to revive and renew them and to make them His own treasure again (v. 17).
God knew what He was getting into when He made His covenant with Israel. He knew that it would cost Him the death of His own Son for His chosen people finally to be His. But in giving Him, God was able to spare them and us, to deliver us from wrath and folly into forgiveness, life, and the glory of God (v. 17).
And now, as His chosen and redeemed ones, we have the privilege of His Word, guiding our thoughts and daily lives. From the Word we learn to discern good from evil and to bend every aspect of our lives into the service of the Lord (1 Cor. 10.31). This is God’s doing. This is His amazing grace at work in us. Nothing of our own do we bring to the table with God. We cling only to the cross of Jesus as we deny ourselves and our natural foolishness, take up the cross of self-denial, and serve the Lord by loving Him and our neighbors.
And all this is possible only because He has made us His own chosen people, His special treasure. This is the message of God’s covenant. Thanks be to God!
Treasures Old and New: Matthew 13.52; Psalm 119.162.
Think about that for a minute…for a lifetime. We are God’s jewels, His special treasure.
We are His. He says, “They shall be Mine” (Mal. 3.17)! How can it be? Amazing grace is the only answer.
“But now, thus says the LORD, who created you…and He who formed you…
‘Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name; you are Mine.
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow you.
When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned, nor shall the flame scorch you.
For I AM the LORD your God, The Holy One of Israel, your Savior…’” (Is. 43.1-3).
“But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; who once were not a people but are now the people of God, who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy” (1 Pet. 2.9, 10).
As His special treasure we are called to proclaim His praises for bringing us out of darkness into His marvelous light. But we must make sure to stay out of the darkness. That’s on us. And we must be oh so careful to not become captive to the world around us. We must not deviate from His Law. We must be true to Him in every way, all the time.
It is frightful the things we allow ourselves to delve into, thinking they are not evil. “After all”, we say, “look around, there is so much evil business out there. We could not possibly be that bad.” But God says, “Then you shall again discern between the righteous and the wicked, between one who serves God and one who does not serve Him” (Mal. 3.18). God conflates wickedness with not serving Him. Hmmm. Well, maybe we should find out for sure what serving Him looks like. In His opinion it looks a lot like what Paul described in Romans 12.1, 2 (TLB): “And so, dear brothers, I plead with you to give your bodies to God. Let them be a living sacrifice, holy—the kind He can accept. When you think of what He has done for you, is this too much to ask? Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but be a new and different person with a fresh newness in all you do and think. Then you will learn from your own experience how His ways will really satisfy you.” Because nothing, other than serving God, will ever satisfy us—now that we know better.
“He who heeds the word wisely will find good, and whoever trusts in the LORD, happy is he” (Prov. 16.20).
“Happy is the man who is always reverent, but he who hardens his heart will fall into calamity” (Prov. 28.14).
“Where there is no revelation the people cast off restraint; but happy is he who keeps the law” (Prov. 29.18).
“…happy are the people whose God is the LORD! (Ps. 144.15).
“If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them” (Jn. 13.17).
Conversely, those who know, and don’t do them, are still captive to self and sin. Sad.
We have been spared by God to be His special treasure and to serve Him (Mal. 3.17, 18).
“And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (Jn. 8.31).
Free to be truly His. “Mine.”
1. What does it mean to you to know that God regards you as His “special treasure”?
2. How would you explain to someone else how they could become part of God’s special treasure?
3. How can you tell when you are beginning to drift into captivity to the world? What should you do then?
The saints are God’s jewels; they are dear to him. He will preserve them as his jewels, when the earth is burned up like dross. Those who now own God for theirs, he will then own for his. Matthew Henry (1662-1714), Commentary on Malachi 3.17, 18
Pray Psalm 85.7-13.
Thank and praise God for gathering you into His treasure. Pray that you will increase in Him and bring great glory to Him by living in His truth and sowing His peace.
Sing Psalm 85.7-13.
(Lyons: O Worship the King)
LORD, show us Your love; restore us, we pray!
And help us to hear the words that You say.
Speak peace to Your people; in truth let us stand.
We fear You; let glory and grace fill our land.
In Jesus God’s grace and truth are combined;
both goodness and peace in Him do we find.
Truth springs from the earth as He walks in our midst,
and righteousness flows from the heav’ns as a gift.
The LORD by His grace will give what is good;
our land will produce abundance of food.
And righteousness will go before the LORD’s face,
and make of His footsteps a way in this place.
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.
Support for Scriptorium comes from our faithful and generous God, who moves our readers to share financially in our work. If this article was helpful, please give Him thanks and praise.
And please prayerfully consider supporting The Fellowship of Ailbe with your prayers and gifts. You can contribute online, via PayPal or Anedot, or by sending a gift to The Fellowship of Ailbe, 103 Reynolds Lane, West Grove, PA 19390.
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.