The fear of the Lord
‘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
SUGGESTED FURTHER READING: Malachi 3:6–18
The prophet Malachi lived as we do now at a time when the words of many were stout against the Lord. They counted his service a burden and spoke well of them whom he abhorred. The priests and the people were in general going backward with one consent, and many severe threatenings are denounced against them both. Yet the Lord has a remnant, a few secret ones, who would not follow a multitude to do evil. To these this comfortable passage relates, and it is equally applicable in all times. It is always the lot of the Lord’s people to be comparatively a small number, and to live in the midst of those who are contrary to him and to them. It is both their duty and privilege to imitate these conscientious servants of God, to speak often one to another, and they have the same encouragement to hope the Lord will notice, accept and bless their communications.
Those who feared. This is a sufficient mark of distinction. Those who belong to the Lord fear him; those who truly fear him, assuredly belong to him, for if he had not put this fear in their hearts they would have continued regardless of him, as they were once. The general character of the unconverted is that there is no fear in God before their eyes. Their practice proves it. Observe them in their business, in their amusements, in their form of religion, in their common conversation (Luke 6:45). Those who are awakened and drawn by divine grace are different in all these respects. They have an habitual principle of the fear of God—not a slavish fear, though it begins perhaps with terror, but it grows brighter and clearer as their faith increases. It is connected with a hope in his mercy (Psalm 33:18). They are affected with a sense of his greatness, his goodness and their unworthiness.
FOR MEDITATION: ‘The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding’ (Proverbs 9:10).
SERMON: MALACHI 3:16–17 [1/5]