This Week's Focus Passage

Malachi 3:16 ‘Then they that feared Jehovah spake one with another.’

This Weeks Focus Passage: Malachi 3:16
‘Then they that feared Jehovah spake one with another.’

We find in Malachi 3:16-17 these marvelous and intriguing words of both comfort and exhortation. A description is given that should engender introspection.

Then they that feared Jehovah spake one with another; and Jehovah hearkened, and heard, and a book of remembrance was written before him, for them that feared Jehovah and thought upon his name. And they shall be mine, saith Jehovah of hosts, even mine own possession in the day that I make; and I will spare them, as a man spareth his own son that serveth him.

Wonderful promises are to be found in this language along with an implied exhortation. The promise is tripled in the encouraging reminder that there was to be a ‘book of remembrance’ written before the Lord. The hymn-writer, Charles Wesley, has poignantly and beautifully referred to this reality with the extremely happy words, ‘My name is written on His hands.’ They shall be mine, God continues to express this inexpressible promise—which is only inexpressible to our minds— because for sinful souls the concept of our belonging to God through His amazing grace is not comprehensible. Through the gift of faith it is, thankfully, apprehensible, that which God’s people will never be able to fully comprehend, as Paul speaks elsewhere, O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and the knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past tracing out!—Rom. 11:33.

This is followed by yet a further promise, no less inexplicable. Jehovah says that He will spare His own possession. He will spare them even as a man spares his own son that serves him. God here speaks to us this promise of sparing, yet He puts it in words that seem contrary to our thinking of the way of sparing. He will spare even as a man spares his own son. But the way in which He actually spares us is precisely opposite this expression. For our God has spared His people by not sparing His own Son. He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all is the language of the inspired apostle in Romans 8:32. How marvelous are the ways of our God, indeed, past finding out. These precious promises are attended with implied discrimination; they are for those that fear the Lord and think upon His name.

Those belonging to God are often, in Scripture, referred to as those that fear Him. The psalmist’s descriptions will suffice. In Psalm 103, David defines those belonging to the Lord in three different and specific manners. In verse 11, he has said, For as the heavens are high above the earth, so great is his lovingkindness toward them that fear him. The lovingkindness of the Lord, His sovereign mercy is directed toward those that fear Him. Again, in verse 13, we are reminded, Like as a father pitieth his children, so Jehovah pitieth them that fear him. As He has reserved His lovingkindness for those that are His special possession, even so has he bestowed His loving, paternal pity for them alone that fear Him. There are many instances of the description of God’s chosen as those that fear Him, but we confine ourselves for the present with Psalm 103. Lastly then, in this psalm, in verse 17, we are informed that the lovingkindness already spoken of is an eternal lovingkindness; it is from everlasting to everlasting, and in addition, His own righteousness is granted them. But the lovingkindness of Jehovah is from everlasting to everlasting upon them that fear him, and his righteousness unto children’s children. Those that fear Jehovah are those that he owns as his peculiar people, and them alone.
These, then, are the very same of whom God speaks through His prophet, Malachi in our focus passage, Malachi 3:16-17; it is ‘they that feared Jehovah.’ It is properly inferred that, since they that feared God were, at the same time, they that thought upon His name. May it not be equally inferred that as they spoke one with another, in the fear of God, while thinking upon His name, that in that state of godly fear, and thinking upon God’s name, was included, and that by the very nature of the case, prayer to this One whom they feared and whose name they dwelt upon? When we consider the context of the prophecy of Malachi being so filled with rebukes and entreaties to return to God, and its time aligning with the prophecies of Zechariah, we find ourselves drawn to what seems to involve parallel promises. See if you do not agree with this thought as you read Zechariah 8:20-22:

Thus saith Jehovah of hosts; it shall yet come to pass, that there shall come peoples, and the inhabitants of many cities; and the inhabitants of one city shall go to another, saying, Let us go speedily to entreat the favor of Jehovah, and to seek Jehovah of hosts: I will go also. Yea, many peoples and strong nations shall come to seek Jehovah of hosts in Jerusalem, and to entreat the favor of Jehovah.

We notice that in each of these two passages, we hear of the communication of some spoken of as ‘anothers.’ In the gathering of those that feared Jehovah in Malachi, we can readily imagine a gathering of the people of God that we would denominate as an assembly, or a church. Is this not what God has called us to do; to gather together to call upon Him; to think together upon His name, and the name of His Son, our Lord Jesus Christ? We are informed that these in Malachi ‘spake one with another.’ That is communication; is it not a communing one with another? We join together as they that fear displeasing our heavenly Father; as they that think upon His Name; as they that sit under the Scriptures—a book of remembrance—and recall again and again the undeserved mercy by which we have been spared and demonstrated in that He did not spare His only Son. These Malachi folk are the very same ‘anothers’ of whom the prophet Zechariah was also speaking, or to whom he was speaking. There is an intimation of peoples gathering other peoples to come and join them in some special ad hoc meeting for the particular purpose of crying unto God for His special presence. Notice that it is said not only that they are wishing to gather in order to seek together Jehovah of hosts, but also to entreat the favor of Jehovah. The remnant will not be satisfied with His favor apart from having Himself; His presence.

David Farmer, elder
Fellowship Bible Church


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