1. Lesson One of the Book of Daniel, Introduction to the Book of Daniel

The Book of Malachi, Lesson XVI, Malachi 3:16-18

As we continue our study of this passage in the third chapter of Malachi, namely verses 16-18, we see that God reveals to us a contrast between the faithless and the faithful. 


In our last lesson we were given to see the faithless as belonging to a group who spoke against God, belonging to a group who thought it vain to serve God, a group who examined the profit/loss statement of life and concluded there was no profit in keeping God’s ordinances. 


The faithless belonged to the “looking around crowd” who only saw that which is visible to the natural eye and in that condition they saw the proud as a happy people, they saw those who are wicked as established people and those who tempt God as delivered people.


The faithless questioned God’s provision, the faithless asked “What’s in it for me?” and the faithless came to the conclusion that there wasn’t enough in it for them to serve God.  

They even came to the conclusion that those who defied God were prosperous and it was better to follow in their ways and seek their own wealth, by their own hands and forget any profit from God.  

They were only equipped to look around with eyes of temporal sight for they had no eyes to see God’s eternal view for only eyes of faith have such power and those kind of eyes are given only by God. 

But God does not leave us with this thought for he is careful to bring to our minds those who fear God, those whom He counts as faithful.

Those of the remnant. 

And we read of this group in: 

Malachi 3:16-18, 16 Then they that feared the Lord spake often one to another: and the Lord hearkened, and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before him for them that feared the Lord, and that thought upon his name. 17 And they shall be mine, saith the Lord of hosts, in that day when I make up my jewels; and I will spare them, as a man spareth his own son that serveth him. 18 Then shall ye return, and discern between the righteous and the wicked, between him that serveth God and him that serveth him not. 

After this passage there is no further group to discuss for there are only two groups that God considers.   

God does not complicate things.   

Male and female made he them, right and wrong, good and evil, light and darkness, heaven or hell.   

Jesus Christ spoke of this simplicity by His saying, recorded in Matthew 7, where He spoke of two ways, the wide gate and the strait gate, the broad way and the narrow way, the many who go to destruction and the few who find life.    

And here in our passage God speaks of the faithless, those on the broad way, and the faithful, those on the narrow way. 

The faithful are called the remnant in scripture.  

Remnant according to Webster’s 1828 dictionary means: Residue, that which is left after the separation, removal of destruction of a part.   

In modern thought it is that which is leftover from something greater.   

After Thanksgiving many refrigerators are filled with remnants. 

I remember shopping (delightfully so) with my wife at a place called Handcock’s Fabrics in Pensacola and her discussing and looking at remnants of bolts of material, small pieces leftover from a large piece of material.  

These pieces were of course thought of as pieces of less value and their price was adjusted accordingly so they wouldn’t be wasted.   

From the world’s standpoint remnants are simply leftovers, left to be soon discarded as worth little or worth nothing.   

But as far as the faithful are concerned we are not to consider the world’s view of any importance for it is God’s view on which we are to deliberate. 

Now it is obvious from scripture that the faithful are the minority group.   

And it is obvious by looking around in our day that this minority group does not have the world’s favored status as do many of the minority groups have today.  

But Jesus said, as John recorded in John 15:18, If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you.

So we are to know that what the wicked observed is true.

Being in the faithful group brings one not to travel on the easy road.   

There are hardships to endure in the faithful group.  

But as I said we are to dwell on how God views this group for in our passage He calls the faithful righteous in comparison to the faithless whom He calls wicked. 

Now of course we learn from our New Testament studies that our righteousness is not an earned righteousness because we serve God but is a righteousness only imputed to us as a gift by God’s grace through faith in our Lord Jesus Christ. 

So our passage provides us a characteristic mark of the righteous which is service to God while the characteristic mark of the wicked is serving self. 

Again only two marks, serving God or serving self.   

No gray areas, no shades of light or darkness.   

Righteousness in Jesus Christ or darkness in the world.   

We all come into the world equipped to serve ourselves.  

The world’s message is you had better care for yourself for no one else will.   

But God by His transforming power moves the faithful into a different mind, the mind of Christ, the mind whereby there is no eternal profit in serving self but all eternal profit comes in serving God and in serving others.  

Our passage speaks of the Righteous fearing the Lord, and speaking often one to another and thinking upon God’s name.  

It is a picture of people who gather together to speak of God’s love, his purity, his goodness and presence in their lives.   

It is a picture of people gathering together to worship and praise God and to seek God’s will in every step they take. 

It is a picture of people who know and live Psalm 46:1, which says: God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.  

This people who think upon God’s name, do not take that name in vain, meaning they are a serious people, a sober people, who greatly value God’s Cause and that God’s character be not maligned. 

Thinking upon His name means esteeming His name, setting great value on Him and fearing His word to keep it and to obey it in spite of what the wicked preach and teach.   

The Righteous are faithful to the name of God instead of to their name or the name of the famed men and women of the world who espouse opinions as truth apart from God’s word.   

The world presses its name upon the wicked, presses its thinking and ideas that are always opposed to the name of God while the faithful are always quick to name the name above every name, the name of Jesus Christ, their Lord and Savior.  

The Apostle Paul wrote of this in:  

Philippians 2:9,10, Therefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: 10 That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; 

Fear of God brings the Righteous to bow their knee before His majesty and to value Him above everything this world and all beyond offers.  

It brings the Righteous to fear only the one with whom they have to do, and that is God for all other fear is cast away for fear of man and faith in God cannot co-exist.

Oswald Chambers wrote: The remarkable thing about God is that when you fear God, you fear nothing else, whereas if you do not fear God, you fear everything else.

And Aiden Wilson Tozer said: When men no longer fear God, they transgress His laws without hesitation. The fear of consequences is no deterrent when the fear of God is gone.

It is easy to see in our day the absence of the fear of the Lord for transgression of His laws is indeed without hesitation and in fact is done with great freedom, acceptance and abandon by our society and culture.  

God is indeed Love, but that is not the whole story for if that is all we preach we then are not faithful for the fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge.   

Now God begins our passage for today in verse 16 with the words: 16 Then they that feared the Lord spake often one to another: and the Lord hearkened, and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before him for them that feared the Lord, and that thought upon his name. 

Notice the beginning word “then”. 

This word is a result of the actions of the wicked.   

There is a response from the Righteous for the wicked are calling the proud happy, established, and delivered.   

In response to this wickedness they that feared the Lord spoke often one to another.   

In other words the Righteous pulled together and spoke often of the Lord and His goodness and His provision to them, encouraging one another in the face of surrounding evil.   

My how this pertains to our time for evil is being allowed to run rampant and it is pressing at our doors.  

Oppressive laws and a culture of corruption are infiltrating the churches but God does not leave us to be alone but provides us with fellowship with those of like precious faith.  

This is indeed the time to remember Paul’s admonition to the Hebrews in Chapter 10:24,25:

And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: 25 Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.


God gives us eyes to see the handwriting on the wall, to know the times and to not be unprepared.


We all need fellowship with bible believing Christians that we be strengthened to stand against the onslaughts of the world, the flesh and the devil.


This tells me that God provides by giving us all each other. 


We are a local Body of Christ and the Body only operates effectively if all parts are healthy and well. 


I am to help you to stay well that the body stays well. 


I, as a part of the same body as are you, am to stimulate you to love and nurture all the parts of this local body. 


It is good when we see many come early to fellowship prior to the formal service.


It is good to see so many stay to fellowship with others of this body when the formal service is complete. 


We are to remember that that fellowship is healthy and so helps each of us to maintain a godly outlook in the face of all the wickedness pressing around us.


Take opportunity to spend time together and to be hospitable with each other and to invite missionaries and other speakers to your home and in so doing you will be an encouragement and your guests will return that encouragement back to you many fold.


I don’t think we have to confine the assembling ourselves together to a church building for we can also easily say that about our homes. 


Again reading verse 16: Then they that feared the Lord spake often one to another: and the Lord hearkened, and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before him for them that feared the Lord, and that thought upon his name.


It seems this book of remembrance means that God records our times of fellowship and times of encouragement to fellow believers and times where those believers think upon His name.


God leans down from the ramparts of heaven and looks and sees and listens and then records encouraging words, exhorting words, words of love and fellowship that he hears from every local Body of Christ and He remembers them in His book.


We have a habit in our family of keeping all of the greeting cards and letters we receive and we now have, after 55 years of marriage several large boxes of these remembrances. 


What a treasure that is to look at some of those cards time to time and remember, perhaps people of our past, people who are no longer with us, people who cared and loved us to send us encouragement along the way.


What is in God’s book about me?


What is in God’s book about you?


God knows our needs. 


Are we careful to be sensitive to the needs of those around us who seem to be carrying a heavy load and could use a helping hand or some encouraging words? 


God knows that those of this body who serve you, your pastors, your teachers, those who bring blessings by their musical talents, those behind the scenes, those who prepare this meeting place for us to meet together as a body need fellowship and encouragement from time to time. 


Have you shared your love of Christ with them?


We are to be of those who speak often to each other, exhorting one another and so much the more as ye see the day approaching.


God hears and takes notice of His Son’s body on Earth.


God notices those who fear Him and serve Him moved by their love and devotion and dedication to Him and His cause for they will be His jewels. 


17 And they shall be mine, saith the Lord of hosts, in that day when I make up my jewels; and I will spare them, as a man spareth his own son that serveth him.