“Your words have been hard against me, says the LORD. But you say, ‘How have we spoken against you?’ You have said, ‘It is vain to serve God. What is the profit of our keeping his charge or of walking as in mourning before the LORD of hosts? And now we call the arrogant blessed. Evildoers not only prosper but they put God to the test and they escape.’”
Then those who feared the LORD spoke with one another. The LORD paid attention and heard them, and a book of remembrance was written before him of those who feared the LORD and esteemed his name. “They shall be mine, says the LORD of hosts, in the day when I make up my treasured possession, and I will spare them as a man spares his son who serves him. Then once more you shall see the distinction between the righteous and the wicked, between one who serves God and one who does not serve him. – Malachi 3:13–18 (ESV)
Gordon Hugenberger writes:
The sixth disputation begins with Israel’s audacious and blasphemous complaint that it is futile to serve God. “What did we gain by carrying out His requirements and going about like mourners before the LORD Almighty?” After the list of sins exposed already by Malachi one may wonder to what requirements they could be referring. The parallelism between “carrying out His requirements” and “going about like mourners” suggests an allusion merely to cultic requirements, probably the same ritual mourning about which Israel boasted in Zechariah 7:1-6 and which was a case of hypocritical outward show.
Not all of Malachi’s contemporaries were so arrogant and ready to charge God with wrongdoing. A second group is mentioned in v. 16 and described as “those who feared the LORD and honored His name.” Just as the LORD recounts the contemptuous blasphemies of the first group, so He overhears the faithful conversations of the second. Similar to the honor roll kept by King Xerxes, which recorded he long-unrewarded faithfulness of Mordecai (Esther 6:1-3), a scroll of remembrance is written in God’s presence concerning these believers.
The insolent complainers had claimed that “evildoers prosper, and even those who challenge God escape.” The LORD Almighty promises a day is coming when they will see how wrong they are. For those listed in the “scroll of remembrance” it will be a day when they will be God’s treasured possession. It will be a day when He will spare these faithful ones who serve Him and show them compassion. It will e a day when “the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its wings” for those who revere God’s name.
MEMORY WORK – Shorter Catechism Q/A 58
Q. 58. What is required in the fourth commandment?
A. The fourth commandment requireth the keeping holy to God such set times as he hath appointed in his word; expressly one whole day in seven, to be a holy sabbath to himself.