Saturday, November 12, 2016

Four reasons to stay the course

TODAY'S SPECIAL: Malachi 3:13-4:6

TO CHEW ON: "'Your words have been harsh against Me,' says the Lord,
'Yet you say, "What have we spoken against You?"
You have said, "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?"'" Malachi 3:13-14

Have you ever thought - what's the point of living for God? Does God even know that I alter my lifestyle to please Him? Does He care? That seems to have been the thinking of Israel, especially of the faithful few that resisted the nation's general backsliding during Malachi's time.

We don't have to understand all the prophetic details in God's reply to catch the gist of encouragement to His disheartened followers. Let's listen in and get hope for our lives from the four reasons He gives them to stay the course.

1. You are remembered.
"So a book of remembrance was written before Him
For those who feared the Lord
And who meditate on His name." Malachi 3:16

How comforting to know that God writes about us in His book. One can't help but think of other references to such books — the book of our days from Psalm 139, or the Book of Life with our names written in it, mentioned in Revelation.

2. You are His treasure.
"They shall be Mine," says the Lord of hosts
On that day when I make them my jewels." Malachi 3:17

Treasure (segullah) means personal property, special treasure. My Bible explains: "Malachi 3:17 speaks of the people God will regard as His 'jewels.' Man's treasure is material objects, but consistently in Scripture, God's treasure is human beings" ("Word Wealth" - New Spirit Filled Bible [NSFLB], p. 262).

3. You will get justice.
"Then you shall again discern
Between the righteous and the wicked
Between one who serves God
And one who does not serve Him." 3:18

This is a reassurance to those of us tempted to question God's fairness while unbelieving friends and neighbours prosper even as they flaunt behaviours that our consciences won't allow. "Sometimes believers tend to be spiritually nearsighted. We face the same temptation today as did God's people in Malachi's day; the temptation to look at ungodly circumstances around us and question God's integrity and character. We must not mistake God's patience for apathy" ("Truth-In-Action Through Malachi - NSFLB, p. 1274).

4. You will be healed.
"But to you who fear my name
The Sun of Righteousness shall arise
with healing in His wings." Malachi 4:2

Healing (marpe) means restoration of health, remedy, cure, medicine, tranquility, deliverance, refreshing. "Salvation is God's rescue of the entire person, and healing is His complete repair of that person" - NSFLB p. 1273.

God's eternal vision sees eternal outcomes. So let's stay the course of loyalty to Him, knowing that the outworking of all that comes our way is good.

PRAYER: Dear God, thank You for these assurances for those who are Yours. Help me to live my life with this eternal perspective in mind. Amen.

MORE: "When He Cometh"

The song "When He Cometh" is based on Malachi 3:17. William O. Cushing wrote it in 1856 and George F. Root wrote the music in 1866. Cyberhymnal tells an interesting story about it with a Canadian connection.

Hear it sung at a Gaither gathering with Joni Erickson Tada in this YouTube rendition.


Unless otherwise noted all Scripture quotations are taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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