Weekly Sabbath Survey
Book of Remembrance — 4-11-2015
Then, they that feared the Lord spoke often to one another; and the Lord listened and heard it, and a Book of Remembrance was written before Him for them that feared the Lord, and that thought upon His name. Malachi 3:16
I heard of an exercise in Bible study where people went through the Bible and read every verse that was a 3:16. If John’s 3:16 is awesome, what if some others are, too? In the case of Malachi, it certainly is! The prophet writes of his own time and puts it in context of both past and future. Even the Jewish rabbis teach that this chapter speaks of the coming of Messiah. (The Second Coming for us!)
The entire chapter begs to be studied and nuggets dug, but for my space here, we will talk mostly about verse 16. In context, all of Chapter 3 is used in Christendom most often to beat the sheep into giving bigger offerings. (I suggest you read this whole short chapter and see what I mean.) The offerings, giving and tithe is a reflection of our devotion to the Lord and to the work of His ministry, then and now. It should done willingly without being threatened coerced. And I tend to doubt giving so we can have church buildings that make the Parthenon ashamed is what Jesus would want. Our air conditioned, padded seat comfort is likely not real high on His list of concerns. In Malachi’s day, there was no welfare system. The Congregation who loved and obeyed God was supposed to provide the means for helping the poor, the widows and the orphans, through offerings, rather than cheating the people who worked for them! [See Malachi 3:5] Then, Malachi alludes to a past time with a future thing going on in the whole chapter, saying in verse 16 the people of God did two things and it resulted in two things done by the Lord.
1. The people feared, i.e., they had a very respectful reverence for the Lord. Like any human parent The Father re-enforces His rules with kindly correction and if necessary, putting the fear into us. That element of fear keeps us motivated to please and obey Him. Once we have matured, our response gets to be more out of love and gratitude, but the fear is important and should not be refused. We don’t pay way into heaven, we just obey the Holy Spirit by being generous.
2. They spoke often to one another — conversation, fellowship occasions, communal meals — they shared their love for the Lord and glorified Him in praise for what He had done for them. (Take note, this doesn’t happen all sitting all face forward listening to one person talk, or in the case of Robert Burns, watching a louse crawling around on some grand hoity-toity lady’s hat.*)
3. The Lord listened and heard it. There is such a thing as listening but not hearing. To listen implies that we hear it with our physical ears. To HEAR it means we understood and accepted it in our hearts (our spirit). So, it is with God. He not only heard what these friends were saying to one another, He took it in and accepted it as praise to Him, and He was moved by this. So . . .
4. He made a record. A Book of Remembrance was written in heaven listing the names of those who feared the Lord and thought upon His name.
Tony and I meet every Saturday with another couple. We have brunch out and then go to one home or the other, to share fellowship. We speak the Lord’s name and of His works in our lives. Our prayer and aim is that the Lord is with us, sees us, hears us and is blessed by what we do in this special time of friendship. We all know salvation gets us written in the Book of Life, but if the Lord is still keeping that Book of Remembrance, it seems like a good thing to have our name in it, too.
Let us make a note to self: Think on and mention (out loud) the name of God and Jesus more often.
* O wad some power the giftie gie us to see oursels as ithers see us.
(O would some power the gift give us to see ourselves as others see us.)
Charlene Reams Manning