"The Book of Remembrance"
Is there a difference between the wicked and the righteous? Will God make a distinction or just punish all of us eternally because of sin?
The Book of Remembrance
A. In 1 Sam. 15, God tells King Saul to destroy Amalek and not to spare anyone from among them including the animals. Yet, we read that Saul did not destroy them, instead he killed most everyone but saved the king and the best of the animals. When Samuel confronts Saul, we hear this reply (READ 1 Sam. 15:24). Saul feared the people more than he did God. That lack of fear of the Lord caused his failure.
B. In life we can fear many things. We can have a fear of the future, a fear of failure, a fear of losing our job, a fear of people, a fear of not looking good, or a fear of punishment. Many people, including Christians are trapped by these fears. While all these fears are increasing, one fear is decreasing, and that is a fear of the Lord. It is decreasing not just in the world, but also in the church. Yet the Bible commands that this is a fear that we should have.
C. Robert B. Strimple says, “There is the convergence of awe, reverence, adoration, honor, worship, confidence, thankfulness, love, and, yes, fear in the phrase, “The Fear of the Lord.”
I. The Fear of the Lord
A. Malachi start the conclusion of his oracle with the words that were as our text (READ Mal. 3:16a).
B. Those who fear the Lord are the ones that God paid attention to and wrote their names down. It was only after all we have read in this oracle, that we find a group of Jews who feared the Lord.
C. Today we come together to worship with our fellow Christian family. We come together in song, prayer, communion, giving of our means and hearing of the scripture and we as church fear the Lord. We take God’s word seriously. This congregation desires to study, know and then practice the things God teaches. I am so impressed with the devotion to knowing truth that we strive for.
D. As a church we fear the Lord when we come together, take our knowledge and put it into practice. It is the same idea that Luke says concerning the Berean Jews who searched the scriptures to see if Paul’s teachings were true. (Acts 17:11). Paul would tell church, “what you have learned and seen in me, practice these things and the God of peace will be with you” (Phil. 4:9).
II. Book of Remembrance
A. Now look at what God says happens next (READ Mal. 3:16b-18).
B. Kings would have their chronicles written down that told about what people did – good or ill. Remember when King Ahasuerus couldn’t sleep and had the books of history read to him and there heard that Mordecai had saved his life, he asked, “What did we do for him?” Of course that leads to the great story of Haman hatred of the Jews.
C. A scroll of remembrance was nothing new, so Malachi records that God also has a book of remembrance, and in this book is written the names of those who fear and esteem Him. Sounds like the “book of Life” to me.
D. I want my name written in God’s book of remembrance so that when the roll is called up yonder I’ll be there! I want to fear and honor the Lord because I know that my God claims his own and takes care of his treasured people. That when destruction comes, it will be the wicked that are destroyed and the faithful that are saved.
E. Is your name written in the book? Listen as John writes what he sees happening in heaven (Rev. 20:11-15).
III. The Great Day of the Lord
A. Malachi concludes his oracle with what we call chapter 4. (Read Mal. 4:1-3). Isn’t that a great passage? There is an eternal distinction between the wicked and the righteous. When that day of the Lord comes, we who are God’s possession, who fear his name, experience healing. We who have been burdened and oppressed, will ‘leap like calves from the stall.”
B. But before Judgement Day comes there is another promise, one that we talked about two weeks ago. Malachi tells us about a change that will take place because a messenger will go before the Lord. (Mal. 4:5-6)
C. John the Baptist may be that specific person, but there is no doubt that we as Christians also have the responsibility to share the message of God that “turns the hearts of the fathers and the children to God.
A. David has a wonderful way with words, and in Psalm 19 he pens for us these words (READ Ps. 19:7-11).
B. Today the reading of God’s word has been opened to you. The choice now becomes what you and I will do with the knowledge we have. The promise of life for those who fear the Lord has not changed. But fearing the Lord requires faithfulness to his commands.
C. The message of hope, love, grace is ours to take. The promise of our names being written in God’s book of life is ours to receive if we will but trust and obey. If we can help you walk in the pathway of God, then come as we stand and sing.
May God Bless You,