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MALACHI 3:16-18

A VERSE-BY-VERSE EXPOSITION

 Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
II Timothy 2:15

 

 "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.  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.  Then shall ye return, and discern between the righteous and the wicked, between him that serveth God and him that serveth him not."

 

LESSON 1 ...

There is a great little Bible Passage at the end of Malachi chapter three!

Some folks there have been talking.  And God has been listening!  The conversation so pleased God that He apparently wrote a book recording their names and thoughts!

Somehow I felt led to study this little text today!

"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."  Malachi 3:16

First notice that this group "feared" the Lord!  The verb "yare" means to literally fear (in a terror sense) ... then comes to mean to respect deeply or even to revere (to hold in reverence)!  It is first used in Genesis 3:10 where naked (and now sinful) Adam is afraid of God!  Man will either fear God in the Genesis 3 sense ... or he will fear God in the Malachi 3 sense! 

The verb "spake" is a translation of "dabar," a word meaning "to arrange or place in order" ... then meaning to speak with orderly forethought!  (Much like "logeo" in the New Testament!)  This is a causative perfect verb --- indicating that there is a reason they are talking (God and His Goodness) and their talking was on-going (habitual)! These folks talked and fellowshipped and communed again and again over the things of God!  (Notice:  No gossip!  No grumbling!  No "small" talk either!  Just high and glorious conversation about the dear Lord!)

Then God heard!  Two verbs are used to describe the Lord's listening!

"Qashab" is translated "hearkened."  It means "to prick up the ears."  (Like a deer or a dog or some other little animal does when he hears something!)  It is a word picture for hearing even a faint noise!  God noticed the godly talk of His people!

"Shama" is translated "heard" and means to listen with special interest and concern! 

Both these "listening" verbs are imperfects.  That means God kept on listening and listening!  He hears us when we speak!

The noun "book" (in Hebrew = "sepher") comes from a verb that means to mark or score as with a tally or a record.  It means to write!

"Remembrance" ("zikron") is derived from a verb that means "to mark so as to be recognized or remembered!"  The first book mentioned in Scripture is in Genesis 5:1.  It seems to be a book of the living generations of Adam.  So God has several "books" apparently!  Notice the "books" at the future Great White Throne Judgment: "And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works." Revelation 20:12

"Was written" translates the Hebrew verb "kathab."  It means "to record" or "to enrol or register!"  This writing too is an on-going process.  As far as I know, God is still writing the words of His children!  (One source says the word means "to engrave!")

"Feared" is "yare" again as was used earlier in the verse.  It is defined earlier in this article also.  (Sometime take your Bible and search for the "blessings" God promises to those who "fear" His great Name!  You will be astounded!)

The last verb is "thought."  It translated "chashab," meaning "to esteem, to calculate, to imagine, to plan, to think upon!"  The verb comes from a root meaning "to plait, to interpenetrate" as a lady does when she weaves three or four strands of her hair into a braid!  (Weaving thoughts together to make a whole unit of reasoning!) Pondering God!  Meditating on the things of heaven!  This is a Qal participle here ... suggesting that the thinking is now a lifestyle with these believers!  (The action is incomplete!)

Now, I don't know what this verse does to you today ... but it sure makes me want to love Him and think of Him and speak of Him more today than ever!

After all, He is listening ... and writing.

Tomorrow, Lord willing, we shall see what God plans for these who so fear Him (reverence and love Him)!

I sure have enjoyed studying with you today!

                                                                      --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

 

LESSON 2 ...

Do you know what God calls His little children in Malachi 3:17?

It is an amazing way for our Lord to speak of us who are saved!

"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."    Malachi 3:17

"My jewels!"  What a term that is!

The little pronoun "they" has as its antecedent the folks back in verse 16 of our Passage.  Those who worship (fear) the Lord and speak of Him often one to another. They also "think" upon His Name a good bit of the time!  Here's the verse in whole: "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."  (Malachi 3:16)

Notice that God claims these people as His Own!  (The only other time in Scripture where God uses those exact words is in Haggai 2:8 --- "The silver is mine, and the gold is mine, saith the LORD of hosts."  God proclaims ownership to some valuable things!  (None more valuable that His "special" saints who love Him and make Him the very center of their lives!)  The "Church" in Song of Solomon recognized that she was "His!"  She said so in 2:16.  "My beloved is mine, and I am his: he feedeth among the lilies."

God's Name "Lord of Hosts" means Jehovah of the Army!  It is God's fighting Name! It likely here refers to the multitudes of angels who are at God's very command. What an army they would be!  I found 245 times in the Bible where that specific Name, "Lord of Hosts," occurs! It often seems to be used when the Lord's people are growing spiritually cold and indifferent!  It may be one of God's ways to encourage them!  (Or to rebuke and chasten them!)

To "make up" uses the Hebrew verb "asah."  It means to fabricate, to fashion, to do, to produce or to prepare.  The first time in Scripture this verb is used in the same form as here is Genesis 1:11 where fruit trees are "yielding" fruit after their kind! When God fashions His jewels (people) ... be sure that they will reflect the very glory of God Himself!  (As an apple tree produces apples ... so God produces godliness!) The verbal here is a participle ... suggesting in this context on-going action!  God is STILL forming His jewels!

"Jewels" is a noun (Hebrew = "segullah") which means "possession or property or treasure!"  It comes from a root stem that means "to shut up," as one does his treasure!  (Sounds very secure to me!)  One teacher says it means "a private possession, especially prized and personally acquired and carefully protected!"  Glory to God!  Our word is translated "peculiar treasure" in Exodus 19:5 --- "Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people: for all the earth is mine."  In  Deuteronomy 7:6  it is rendered "special!"  Here's that verse: "For thou art an holy people unto the LORD thy God: the LORD thy God hath chosen thee to be a special people unto himself, above all people that are upon the face of the earth." And in Deuteronomy 14:2 it is "peculiar!"  See what I mean:  "For thou art an holy people unto the LORD thy God, and the LORD hath chosen thee to be a peculiar people unto himself, above all the nations that are upon the earth."  Our word has a rich Old Testament heritage!  The Greek term "eis peripoiesis laos" in the New Testament, 1 Peter 2:9, means the same thing and is translated "a peculiar people!"

God promises to "spare" His jewels!  That verb (spare) is "chamal" and means "to pity, to have compassion on, to spare!"  (First Bible use ... Exodus 2:6 where Pharaoh's daughter "had compassion" on little baby Moses!  He was a little "jewel" to God ... and God "spared" him!)  Think of the people in Scripture God has "spared!"  Psalm 72:13 --- "He shall spare the poor and needy, and shall save the souls of the needy." And Jonah 4:11 --- "And should not I spare Nineveh, that great city, wherein are more than sixscore thousand persons that cannot discern between their right hand and their left hand; and also much cattle?"

He spares old sinners ... but God did not spare His Own Son!  Romans 8:32 says: "He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?"

The word "son" is "ben" in Hebrew.  It means a son as the child who will "build" ("banah = build in Hebrew) one's family!  God gave His only Son Jesus ... but the "family" sure was built through that precious Sacrifice!  Jesus has brought "many sons" to glory!  (Hebrews 2:10)

"Serveth" translates a Hebrew verb ("abad") that means to work like a slave! (Remember how Mark's Gospel presents Jesus as a Servant of His Father!)  That "hardest working" child often is a favorite!

Both times the verb "spare" occurs in this last part of our verse ... the same word is chosen by the Holy Spirit ("chamal").  However there is ONE difference that I can see.  When God "spares" His own ... the verb shows incomplete action.  He is still sparing them yet today!  When the man mentioned in the verse spares his son ... the action is complete (over with, finished)!  That poor man died and could no longer spare his child!  Good news:  God will never die!  He is eternal!  We are forever "spared!" 

What a verse today!

How "blessed" we are as God's little "jewels!"

By the way, don't you suppose that when God told the Jewish High Priest to wear a Breastplate with 12 jewels on it ... one representing each of the tribes of Israel ... that He had in mind our Great High Priest (Jesus) who has each of us on His heart right now (at the right hand of the Father)!  It looks like we are still God's little "jewels!"

Praise His Name!

We are honored that you have visited us!  You are always welcome here ... with a Bible in you hand!  Let's study God's Word together!  There's just no other book like it!

                                                                                --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

 

LESSON 3 ...

Malachi chapter three ends with a description of a group of godly men (and perhaps ladies too) who are meeting often, talking of the Lord and thinking upon His Name! They constitute those who "fear the Lord!"

God is so thrilled with their love and devotion that He promises them certain blessings!  He even calls them "His Jewels!"  He commits Himself to "spare" them ... suggesting eternal life!

Then in Malachi 3:18 He says:

"Then shall ye return, and discern between the righteous and the wicked, between him that serveth God and him that serveth him not."

The Jews have largely turned away from the Lord.  But the day is coming when they shall "return!"  (That's revival!)  It's the spirit of Lamentations 5:21 which addresses the Lord in prayer:  "Turn thou us unto thee, O LORD, and we shall be turned; renew our days as of old."

And if they don't "turn" in revival ... judgment day is coming.  They will be turned then (by Almighty God)!

The verb "turn" is "shub" in Hebrew and just means to turn back.  It has a "time" sense that suggests this is a one-time final revival for God's people.  There well may be some Bible prophecy here.

To "discern" (Hebrew = "raah") is to see or look at or inspect.  Israel had been saying that it was vain to serve the Lord.  (Malachi 3:14 --- "Ye have said, It is vain to serve God: and what profit is it that we have kept his ordinance, and that we have walked mournfully before the LORD of hosts?")  God here says, No!  The day is coming when all shall see the difference (the rewards) given for serving the dear Lord!

"Righteous" (meaning just with God or straight before God) and "wicked" (meaning violently abusive and ungodly) are the two classes of people on earth!  Saved or lost! Spiritually alive or dead!  Going to Heaven or Hell!

But look at the parallel statements between those who serve God and those who don't!  The implication is that if you are righteous ... you WILL serve the Lord!  (I believe so too!)

The verb "serve" is "abad" in Hebrew and means to work as a slave!  To be a (willing) bondslave!  However, there is one major distinction between the two appearances of the verb "serveth" here!  The first time it is a participle ... allowing us to believe that likely the God fearers serve the Lord constantly.  (And are still doing so!)  However the ungodly who "serveth" the Lord not ... are described by a "perfect" verb meaning that their opportunity for serving God has ended!  It's too late for them now!

This may imply exactly what Revelation 22:3 teaches!  "And there shall be no more curse: but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it; and his servants shall serve him."  Through all of eternity we Believers are still going to get to "serve" our dear Lord!

Praise His Name!

We had better get used to meeting in His Name down here on earth!  And accustomed to talking about Him in praise and worship!  And thinking (meditating) on Him as well!  We are certainly going to be doing a lot of that in Heaven for evermore!

Amen!

                                                                                   --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

 

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