Message from Malachi
A Prophetic Warning to the Church
The Book of Remembrance
“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”
For the seventh and final time the priests in the days of Malachi demand God be more specific in how He was chastising them for their apathy, disrespect and sin. First, God said He loved them. And, like spoiled, ungrateful children they responded to His love by saying, “In what way have You loved us?” (Mal. 1:2). From there, six more times, God lovingly corrects His priests and people and yet they have the arrogance and gall to call God’s hand and demand He provide them proof of what He was saying about them. They said:
“In what way have we despised Your name?” (Mal. 1:6).
“In what way have we defiled You?” (Mal. 1:7).
“In what way have we wearied Him (God)?” (Mal. 2:17).
“In what way shall we return?” (Mal. 3:7).
“In what way have we robbed You?” (Mal. 3:8).
Finally, God says to His servants, “Your words have been harsh against Me.” And they quickly reply, “What have we spoken against You?” (Mal. 3:13). In effect, we reject what You are saying about us, God, and demand You produce evidence to support Your claim. Really?
So God, gracious and loving, ever patient and forgiving, presents the evidence they demanded. He has heard what they have been saying to each other about Him. He knows their demeaning words spoken in the shadows, in silent whispers, in gossip, about His love, His justice and His faithfulness. He knows all and hears all. And their words about Him have been harsh, cutting, and hurtful.
It began in Malachi 2:17 where God’s sense of justice and fairness was questioned and condemned by the people and priests. But God heard their talk, their hushed conversations to each other, and was wearied by their words. “Everyone,” they claimed, “who does evil is good in the sight of the Lord. And He delights in them.”
Ouch. That’s calling the very nature and essence of God into question. And that’s not a very wise thing to do
Then, they continued in the next chapter by saying, “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?” (Mal. 3:14).
Excuse me. Let’s just get a few things straight before we go any further. First, you haven’t kept His ordinance. Not one little bit. Have you been listening to what He has been telling you about robbing Him (Mal. 3:8), breaking covenant with your wives (Mal. 2:14), offering defiled food on His altar (Mal. 1:7), and despising His very name (Mal. 1:6)? And second, saying you are walking around like mourners at a funeral makes one want to laugh. There’s no mourning over your sin or over the disrespect of your God. None. You’re knee deep in guilt and self-delusion thinking God doesn’t know your heart and hear your words. He is, after all, God— the always-present, all-powerful, and all-knowing God.
But What About Those Who Do Right?
But what about the others? What about those who have stood firm in their faith, those who have presented themselves as a living sacrifice to the Lord (Rom. 12:1-2), those who, like Paul, have fought the good fight (2 Tim. 4:7)? What does God say about them?
“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” (Mal. 3:16).
The other group, those who feared the Lord, the remnant, spoke to one another and the Lord heard what they were saying (Mal. 3:16). In fact, He was so taken by their words and their devotion to Him, in contrast to the harsh, hurtful words spoken by the priests and people, that He had their words written in a book of remembrance and set before Him. Did you ever wonder why?
The Book of Remembrance
What is the book of remembrance that was written before God? (Mal. 3:16). And what was written in it that needed to be remembered?
Several places in the Scriptures we find a reference to God’s book (Ex. 32:32; Ps. 56:8; Dan. 7:10; Rev. 13:8, 20:15). Some of these references speak of the book of the living or the book of life, but they generally mean a book of righteous people or righteous deeds. In fact, the Persian kings kept such books that recorded services rendered to the king so those services could be rewarded in due time. Remember King Ahasuerus, Haman, Mordecai and Esther for example (Esther 6:1-3).
As with Mordecai, often rewards are delayed. And sometime they are delayed to the point they seem like they will never happen, like they’ve been forgotten or intentionally overlooked. When that delay continues indefinitely discouragement, depression, rejection and despair often occur.
But the Bible also teaches that faithfulness to God will never go unnoticed and will be rewarded in due time. The book of remembrance is God’s way of telling those who might grow weary in doing well (Gal. 6:9), those who faithfully suffer alone in trials and tribulation (Jas. 1:2-3), those who may become discouraged or depressed, that God remembers and He sees and “He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him” (Heb. 11:6).
Are We Written in His Book of Remembrance?
God has a reason for His book of remembrance. It’s to show the world the distinction between “the righteous and the wicked, between one who serves God and one who does not serve Him” (Mal. 3:18). It’s much like the plagues on Egypt, during the days of Moses, where the Lord made a clear distinction between His people and those who were cursed, the Egyptians (Ex. 9:6, 26; 10:23). Or, in I John 2:19 where it says: “They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us; but they went out that they might be made manifest, that none of them were of us.” Again, the goal is to show a crystal clear distinction between “the righteous and the wicked, between the one who serves God and one who does not serve Him” (Mal. 3:18).
Hence, the book of remembrance.
But there’s also another reason for God to write the names of His righteous children or their righteous deeds of faith in a book of remembrance. It’s not to help God remember because He is, after all, God and remembers all— but it’s to help us remember that God never changes (Mal. 3:6) and He will not forget those who don’t forget Him (Mal. 3:16). And for those whose names and deeds are written in His book and not to be forgotten, for those who “feared the Lord and spoke to one another” God has a special promise. A special promise He doesn’t want us to forget.
“They shall be Mine,” says the Lord of hosts, “on the day that I make them My jewels (or, special treasure, personal possession). And I will spare them as a man spares his own son who serves him” (Mal. 3:17). Did you read that? Can your mind wrap around the glorious, indescribable, uncontainable blessings He has for those who are His? Just think, those who love the Lord with all their heart, those who serve and revere Him above all others, those who are called by His Name, those who live in the awe and wonder of who He is will be His personal possession and He will make them His own special treasure, His own jewels. Can you think of anything more glorious than that?
Is your name written in the Lord’s book of remembrance? Has He recorded your service rendered to the King of Kings so He can reward you in due time? Is there anything in your devotion to the Lord Jesus worthy of remembering? If so, praise to the Lord. All glory belongs to Him. But if not, why? Why waste another second of your finite life living for the trinkets and toys of this fallen world when you can live for the praise and adoration of the King and be called His special treasure.
After all, God does not change and His Word is true. Always.
And this is the promise to those whose name and deeds are written in the book of remembrance.
“Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen” (Eph. 3:20-21).
Come Lord Jesus.