Lord's Day Evening Meditations March
"They That Feared The Lord"
In all the evil condition of things that was "The
burden of the Word of the Lord to Israel by Malachi,"
there were these few in verse 16 who had the Lord's approval;
a few who were a refreshment to His heart. What did they do that
made the Lord hearken and hear, and write a book of remembrance?
Let's look again at those three things in verse 16. They
1) "feared the Lord,"
2) "spoke often one to another,"
3) "thought upon His (the Lord's) name."
As we consider this remnant as an example for us
to follow, there is a similarity to notice. We are reading in
the last book of the Old Testament and almost the last page. They
lived at the end of a dispensation. Though there is about 400
years between Malachi and Matthew, Malachi was the last inspired
utterance until the coming of John the Baptist. We also live at
the end of a time period - the time of grace. Inspiration closed
with the completion of the New Testament, so there will be no
more inspired utterances before the Lord comes. Like them we live
almost at the end of a time period - a difficult time then, and
now, which really calls for the three things named above. The
last time we had begun by considering the first of the three.
I want to add a few thoughts to:
1) "They … feared the Lord."
We have been seeing the spiritual condition among
the people generally, which caused the Lord to speak to them through
Malachi. They were offering blind, lame, and sick sacrifices;
refusing to do anything for the Lord unless they got paid for
it; dealing treacherously against God and against their wives;
robbing God of His tithes and offerings, etc.; and then when they
didn't receive the blessings they thought they were entitled to,
they blamed God and said it was His fault! You see, here were
people who plainly did not "fear the Lord."
We can safely conclude, then, that those who "feared
the Lord" did none of the evil things just listed,
but rather tried to please Him in every way and to do His will.
We have seen also that there is a difference between
"the fear of the Lord" in the Old Testament
and in the New. In the Old, the fear was rather literal, whereas
in the New, "The fear of the Lord" is founded
on love, for we know and have received His love as revealed in
The second characteristic of those few faithful
ones was that they
2) "spoke often one to another."
They lived in a very difficult time, for they were
surrounded by others who were careless, indifferent, cold, and
disobedient. In their efforts to be faithful, they found that
everything was against them. How blessed it was for them to find
a few who were likeminded! Here were some others who had the same
fear, the same desires, the same purpose, the same exercises.
They found that they had these things in common, and this drew
them together, to speak together, and to encourage one another.
They had a great need, and they found that which met their need
in speaking often with others likeminded. In the New Testament
we have a Scripture which tells us this very thing. Read Heb.
10:23 - 25. "And let us consider one another to provoke
unto love and to good works: 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."
Those who spoke together in Malachi belonged to
the same remnant of the same people, and they had similar needs
and desires. However, we have a link that they knew nothing about.
We are "members one of another," being all
members of the body of Christ. As such we are joined together
in a unity in which every member is needed by every other member.
"The body of Christ" includes ever truly saved
person on the earth. It may seem a little difficult to understand
how a believer that I don't know, who lives in China, is helpful
to me and I to him. The Lord has taken this into account in that
He has given us a local assembly in which this truth takes on
a more practical aspect. The local assembly is not the body of
Christ, but, if scripturally gathered, it is the local expression
of it. It is in this local context that the truth of "the
body of Christ" becomes a practical thing, and the
need that the members have of each other is realized. It is there
that we can practice verses 23 - 25 in Hebrews 10. There are exceptional
cases of some who do not have the privilege and blessing of a
local assembly; to them the Lord gives special grace to walk alone.
I remember a story that goes back to the days of
heating homes with coal, in England. A brother had been absenting
himself from the meetings, and so another brother went to visit
him. With the tongs he took a red-hot coal from the fire and set
it by itself on the hearth. They both watched it as in a short
time it lost its colour and became cold. The brother who had been
missing meetings understood the message. When we meet together
and "speak often one to another," we can help
each other, in the warmth of divine love, to go on with the Lord.
When alone, the danger is to grow cold and to get away. However,
the exhortation is to "consider one another to provoke
unto love and to good works." Sadly, sometimes the
provocation is to anything but love.
When the enemy sees a company of believers going
on happily in truth and love, he will make every effort to destroy
them. How can he do that? If he raises opposition and persecution
from the world, will that do it? No, that will only draw them
closer together in a common purpose to be faithful. If he succeeds
in introducing the activity of the flesh so that quarreling, bitterness
and pride get in, will that destroy the assembly? Yes, unless
the Lord steps in, that assembly will go to nothing. Do you see
now the importance of "speaking often one to another"
and of going on together with one purpose and one heart?
The third characteristic of that little company
was that they
3) "thought upon His name."
In their conversations together they must have
often spoken of the Lord's name. What a deep and fruitful subject
for meditation! In chapter 1 and the beginning of chapter 2 we
saw how, seven times, the Lord referred to "My name."
That shows how very important that is to Him, and if it is important
to Him, then it should be important to us also. We'll consider
a little the Lord's name in the Old Testament. We lose much in
our English translation because we do not have words equivalent
to the Hebrew. The meanings given here are very incomplete, but
El Shaddai -
Almighty God -
all sufficiency &
is only an example to show how different names
give different aspects of His Person, differences which He revealed
progressively, and which we lose in our translation. This also
shows a little of how much there is to "think upon"
in the Lord's name.
In the New Testament God has given us a full revelation
of Himself in the Person of His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. Turn
to John 1:1. "In the beginning was the Word, and the
Word was with God, and the Word was God." Who is "the
Word"? Verse 14 tells us that "the Word was
made flesh, and dwelt among us," and then the chapter
goes on to tell us about the Lord Jesus. The last verse of John
1 speaks about "the Son of Man." Now here
is something for you to do. In this chapter I have given you the
first name used to refer to the Lord, and the last one; find all
the other names given to Him in between. As you do this you will
be "thinking upon His name" - a very profitable
Going back to Malachi 3 we know that the Lord approved
of what that little remnant was doing because He "hearkened
and heard it," and He put it all on record in "a
book of remembrance." If we do like they did, He will
not fail to see and hear, and record it also. r S.L.