Title: No Harsh Words
Date: May 11, 2021
As the months fly by and we witness different challenges to our society and our country, we can’t help but wonder if God is hearing our pleas for help. In our weaker moments, if we are brutally honest with ourselves, as we watch evil flourish we tend to wrestle with God’s purposes and plans for His children.
Scripture always points back to one thing. From cover to cover it reveals that God is God and we are not. Trust in His plan for today (and all our tomorrows) is imperative for the child of God. For without confidence in His perfect, flawless, and loving intentions, we can become weak, paralyzed with fear, and completely miss out on the blessing of experiencing “being strong through Him when we are weak.”
In today’s Scripture, Malachi 3:13-14, we read:
“You have said harsh things against me,” says the Lord. “Yet you ask, ‘What have we said against you?’
“You have said, ‘It is futile to serve God. What did we gain by carrying out His requirements and going about like mourners before the Lord Almighty? But now we call the arrogant blessed. Certainly the evildoers prosper, and even those who challenge God escape.’”
Doesn’t this sound familiar? Do we not look upon the unrighteous in power and question how they got there, how it happened? Has God not heard our prayers, the cries of His children? Has He stopped listening? Meanwhile it appears the evildoers prosper!
Note the first verse where God says, “You have said harsh things about me.” Just like the people in Malachi’s day, I believe we would probably ask the same question: “What harsh things have we said about you?” In complete oblivion they had no idea, and in their defense, I can see myself here as well. Can you?
We may not always come right out and say what is on our minds. However, the Lord knows our every thought. Have we been guilty of asking ourselves what we gain by carrying out His precepts? Doesn’t it appear that evil just keeps steamrolling ahead? Do we not question why the unrighteous seem to keep prospering? Do we not wonder why our rescue seems missing in action? These questions all seem like harmless thoughts, right? However, Malachi tells us that our seemingly harmless thoughts are actually harsh acts towards our Father! This saddens me. I’m not sure I ever saw it this way before.
Those few verses clearly emphasize the importance of never questioning God during hard times, including any struggle, hardship, or even regarding the condition of our world. The Lord knows we are human and frail. We cannot be a rock at all times. We can fail and question Him daily! Yet I think it’s what we do with that which either pleases Him or hurts Him. Do we live in an attitude of doubt and fear, or as soon as it enters our minds we recognize it and fight against it with the sword of the Spirit, battling against it with God’s word and His promises to us? And just like falling off a bike we should get right back up and believe and trust Him once again with His plan for us!
What is the Lord asking you today? “Are you saying harsh things about me? Are you fully trusting me? Do you for a minute not believe that I will rescue you? That I will deliver you?”
Let’s read on in Malachi 3:16-17:
Then those who feared the Lord talked with each other, and the Lord listened and heard. A scroll of remembrance was written in His presence concerning those who feared the Lord and honored His name.
“They will be mine,” says the Lord Almighty, “in the day when I take up my treasured possession. I will spare them just as in compassion a man spares his son who serves him. And you will again see the distinction between the righteous and the wicked, between those who serve God and those who do not.”
Notice that after they questioned God and were troubled by what they could only see with their eyes, verse 16 says, “They talked with each other.” This is what changes our attitudes, our despair, our frustrations. God says it is imperative that we join together with our brothers and sisters in Christ. We must lift each other up with the encouragement of God’s promises of deliverance, protection and resolution. This is where our faith is grown, strengthened and magnified!
The faith of the believer was not intended to be experienced alone or to be a quiet journey. Scripture points out time and time again that we are empowered when we are together. Ecclesiastes 4:12 says, “Two can defend themselves; a cord of three strands is not quickly broken.” This does not pertain solely to marriage, but friendships, or people at your workplace. Reach out to others, especially those who also love the Lord. With Christ as the strand in the middle, together you can be empowered, strengthened and renewed!
Verse 17 goes on to say, “The Lord listened and heard. A scroll of remembrance was written in His presence concerning those who feared the Lord and honored His name.”
What does this mean for us today? Matthew Henry’s commentary puts it like this: “The book of remembrance means that those of us who love Christ and trust his ultimate plan are remembered and written before God in a book. It is a covenant and a promise that He will take care of His children and that they will not perish with those that believe not. They shall be vessels of mercy and honor when the rest are made vessels of wrath and dishonor. The Saints are God’s Jewels. They are dear to Him. He will preserve them as His Jewels when the earth is burned up like dross. Those who now own God for theirs, He will then own for His.”
Folks, not one loyal or disgruntled word gets past our heavenly Father. Let us personally be found faithful among the faithless. As He turns His ear from heaven, let us be a sweet, sweet sound! As we put doubt aside and continue to utter words of encouragement, faith, belief, and undeniable hope to each other, may it be a “sweet remembrance” in His presence. Oh Father may we never lose sight or forget that one day we will hear you say, “You are my treasured possession, in fact you have always been since the beginning of time! My plan for you was always to prosper you, now enter into my eternal sweet rest!”
“Surely the day is coming; it will burn like a furnace. All the arrogant and every evildoer will be stubble, and the day that is coming will set them on fire,” says the Lord Almighty. “Not a root or a branch will be left to them. But for you who revere my name, the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its rays. And you will go out and leap like calves released from the stall. Then you will trample down the wicked. They will be ashes under the soles of your feet on the day when I do these things,” says the Lord Almighty.
With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation. And you will say on that day: “Give thanks to the Lord, call upon his name; make known his deeds among the people, proclaim that his name is exalted.”
2 Timothy 4:18
The Lord will rescue me from every evil deed and bring me safely into his heavenly kingdom. To him be the glory forever and ever.
In God’s infinite knowledge He certainly doesn’t need a written record in order to keep track of our deeds or speech. Whether there truly will be a physical book or not, only time will tell. Perhaps the book is only a metaphor to help us understand? We shall see!
I found it timely and actually kind of funny that my daughter called me this morning while I was studying this portion of scripture. She called to vent about her son who has been trying her patience with his typical five-year-old boy defiance! However, to her happy surprise she discovered that a chart rewarding good behavior has been working wonders!
I can’t help but wonder and imagine….In the eyes of our sweet Father, do we resemble a typical five-year-old? We too possibly need these visuals! His “book of remembrance” may be just what we need to motivate us, remind us, and push us to follow our Father’s requests! Just as my daughter does it for the loving benefit of her son…our God does it as well for you, for me!
Let’s see how our lives can change if we decide to minimize our questioning! Let’s take notice if transforming our complaining mindset to a believing, positive trust in God’s perfect plan will cause our faith to grow. How free our spirit will be! For He tells us He will work ALL things out for our good… and that is good enough for me!
Delighting in safe pasture,