Malachi 3:13-18

Malachi 3:13 (KJB)

Your words have been stout against me, saith the LORD. Yet ye say, What have we spoken so much against thee?


The LORD then tells Israel that their words have been stout against him.  The word “stout” carries with it the meaning of “strong or firm.”  They had literally spoken harshly against the LORD.  They may have even spoke words that, in their mind, justified their actions not seeing anything wrong with the way they spoke.  Then they had the gall to ask the Lord what have they spoken so much against him?  Their words were words of insolence and they were so steeped in their self-serving attitudes that they did not even think they were disrespecting the LORD.


Malachi 3:14 (KJB)

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?


Then God answers their objections stating that they had stated that it was vain or purposeless to serve God and they saw no profit for themselves in keeping his ordinances, that is, the Law of God.  The Sadducees had taught that there was no resurrection of the dead.  Matthew 22:23 (KJV) The same day came to him the Sadducees, which say that there is no resurrection, and asked him,  Many thought it was purposeless to serve the LORD since this life was all that there was and it made no sense to serve a rigorous law that would only hinder a person’s life.  In the New Testament the Apostle Paul must have faced this similar situation.  1 Corinthians 15:19 (KJV) If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable. They were probably looking at serving God in a fatalist manner.  Isaiah faced the same situation.  Isaiah 58:3 (KJV) Wherefore have we fasted, say they, and thou seest not? wherefore have we afflicted our soul, and thou takest no knowledge? Behold, in the day of your fast ye find pleasure, and exact all your labours.  They thought that God did not see or acknowledge their attempts at keeping the law and the people Malachi ministered to had walked mournfully before the Lord with the mindset that he did not take notice of their actions.  Their mindset was, if a person ceases to exist after death and there is no soul to go to Heaven, what is the purpose of being obedient or disobedient since both would wind up in the same place?


Malachi 3:15 (KJB)

And now we call the proud happy; yea, they that work wickedness are set up; yea, they that tempt God are even delivered.


They were making a comparison between themselves who walked mournfully before the Lord and those who strutted around in their pride who exuded a happy exterior.  They were mistaking the prideful people as being happy not realizing that pride can bring a person down.  Psalm 73:3 (KJV) For I was envious at the foolish, when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.  When Asaph penned Psalm 73, he was also confused when he saw the wicked prospering in this world.  According to his thinking, the wicked should have been brought under judgment instead of enjoying the fruits of prosperity.  It confused him to the point that he envied them.  In today’s world it seems the more wicked a person is the more they prosper and even those in Christianity, the more apostate they become the more they prosper.  It seems that even today the false preachers live in million dollar mansions and have swimming pools and drive BMWs or a Mercedes Benz while those who desire to be faithful live in small apartments or houses and barely making it financially while driving a 10 year old car.  It almost does not seem fair.


Psalm 73:16-17 (KJV) When I thought to know this, it was too painful for me; {17} Until I went into the sanctuary of God; then understood I their end.


Then Asaph went into the house of the Lord and once he began his study of the Scriptures, he realized their transient dreams would come to an abrupt end and nothing they amassed on this earth would go with them.  Keep in mind the challenge that Satan gave to Jesus in his earthly temptations.


Matthew 4:8-9 (KJV) Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them;  {9} And saith unto him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me.


Satan told Jesus that if he falls down and worships him, he will give him all the kingdoms of the world.  Here is the principle which I see alive and well today, even in Christianity.  False preachers have millions of dollars, one even claims to be a billionaire, and the reason they are so wealthy is because they have chosen to teach a false gospel and false gospels are of Satan.  Therefore they are falling down and worshipping Satan and he is giving them the kingdoms of the world.  When a Christian preacher pushes a false Bible version or preaches a false gospel like dispensationalism, they too are falling down and worshipping Satan so he is giving them the kingdoms or the wealth of the world.  Ever notice when a preacher preaches the truth, their church barely makes it over 50 attendees while the false preachers have stadiums filled with people. 


Back to our verse.  In the last portion of the verse it states “yea, they that tempt God are even delivered.”  They had even believed that those who tempted or tested God have been delivered.  They were arrogant to actually challenge God face to face and they lived and this gave the people a false notion that they were delivered and would not face any consequences for their actions.  The only reason they are not consumed is because of God’s patience but they would be subject to judgment of they did not return unto the LORD.  They believed that God was not a God of judgment but neglected to look back at their history.  Many today believe that just because it seems that God is silent, that he does not exist nor is he a God of judgment.  There will be many surprises when the last days rolls around and the sun will be darkened and then comes Judgment Day.


Malachi 3:16 (KJB)

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.


As with all generations and countries, Israel was no different because there were many in Israel who had arrogantly spoken against the LORD and made accusations against him.  Within Israel there was also a remnant of people who did not agree with the accusers and these were the faithful remnant who trusted the LORD and knew that he would eventually answer his accusers and deal with their rebellious attitudes.  The LORD heard those who were faithful and had hearkened to their words because they were spoken out of a faithful heart.  The word “hearkened” carries with it the meaning of “listen and being attentive.”  So God heard the words of those who were still faithful to him.  The book of remembrance which was written before him comes from an ancient Persian custom which was a record of those who did deeds favorable to the king and for a record of recognition.  If you recall that Mordecai was rewarded for stopping an assassination attempt on King Ahasuerus and the king gained knowledge of it by means of a book of remembrance.  Esther 6:1-2 (KJV) On that night could not the king sleep, and he commanded to bring the book of records of the chronicles; and they were read before the king.  {2} And it was found written, that Mordecai had told of Bigthana and Teresh, two of the king's chamberlains, the keepers of the door, who sought to lay hand on the king Ahasuerus.  With God a book is not necessary because he knows who his faithful people are but is mentioned here that God does remember those who have done good deeds for him or believed him.  Hebrews 6:10 (KJV) For God is not unrighteous to forget your work and labour of love, which ye have shewed toward his name, in that ye have ministered to the saints, and do minister. 


Malachi 3:17 (KJB)

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.


The LORD is giving an insight into the future of the believer.  Those whom he has saved will be his people and when it speaks of “in that day” it is speaking about the great separation on Judgment Day when all the nations will stand before the Lord Jesus Christ and the goats (unbelievers) will go on the left and the sheep (believers) will go on his right.  The word “jewels” carries with it the meaning of “peculiar treasure.”  Psalm 135:4 (KJV) For the LORD hath chosen Jacob unto himself, and Israel for his peculiar treasure.  Psalm 135:4 speaks about Jacob and Israel being the peculiar treasure.  Jacob is the saved line within national Israel which extends to the last day and the Israel in view is the Israel of God which is the body of believers.  Galatians 6:16 (KJV) And as many as walk according to this rule, peace be on them, and mercy, and upon the Israel of God.  In the last part of this verse, God states that he will spare them and this is speaking physically of those who are the true believers in the time of Malachi.  Those who are true believers are viewed by God as a faithful son who faithfully serves his father.  The rebellious in the family of national Israel will be subject to the final judgment but not those who are found in Christ.  What is also in view here is the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 A.D. when the Romans came in and desecrated the city and killed over one million Jews but those Jews who heeded the Lord’s advice in Matthew 24 left the city and were spared from the carnage which was to take place.


Malachi 3:18 (KJB)

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


Then once that begins to take place, the Jews who are living at that time will come to their senses and realize that they had forsaken the LORD and then they will realize that those who took the Lord’s counsel and acted on it and left the city were the ones who acted correctly.  They will realize their own rebellion but it will be too late and they will know that the ones who left the city were the righteous and the ones who stayed were the wicked.  They will understand that those who served the Lord were those who were saved and in Christ and those who did not serve the Lord were the ones who rejected him and maybe even had a hand in his execution which was motivated by hate.  Unfortunately on Judgment Day it will be too late to realize that you have lived a life of rebellion towards God.  2 Corinthians 6:2 (KJV) (For he saith, I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I succoured thee: behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.)