Our Old Testament reading for this week is from Malachi chapter three. Malachi is structured around a number of interactions between God and Israel. In each, God points out a failing of the people. They respond in disbelief. God then describes why his assessment is correct. Here the people have spoken ill of God. How have they done this? They have said that God’s commands are worthless and that they are the people who can judge rightly and should act according to their own opinion. God observes that he is patient but not ignorant of the people’s rebellion.
What is God doing? Why is he being so slow to judge? In verse 16 the people who feared God speak with one another. What are they speaking about? The Scripture does not say. However, the result speaks volumes. The LORD pays attention to what his people are saying. He has their names written in a book of those who will be treated as his treasure, even as a faithful son. Apparently through the speaking in verse 16 the people who are trusting in the LORD are making it plain.
It is through the words and deeds of others that we are often led to belief, to faith, and to the good works which follow. Why would God delay in showing judgment? Very likely to allow more to believe in his mercy and grace.
Verse 19 does point out that God’s mercy will not be shown to all. He will still show himself to be the judge of all. But, just as he always has, here he calls people to trust in him rather than in themselves. This is where our confidence lies. The God who will judge good and evil graciously calls us to believe in him so he can judge us as his precious children.
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