Speaking though the prophet Malachi, the Lord tells us how He observes and regards our attitude towards Him and the ways that we reflect that in our actions.
16 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. Malachi 3:16 (ESV)
First, we learn that it is important to the Lord that we “fear” Him, so much so that He even keeps a record of it in a book of remembrance.
God is not referring here to the type of fear we might have in a threatening situation. Rather, this fear is a deep reverence and respect for who He is and what He has done, and an esteem for the goodness of His name and the love and power that we tap into through faith in Him.
We also see from the text that He pays attention to our conversation and listens for the fruits of our faith to be reflected in it. When we reflect His loving attributes in our listening, comforting, encouraging, and exhorting, He is pleased. So pleased, in fact, that He considers His faithful followers to comprise His most-treasured possessions.
17 “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. Malachi 3:17 (ESV)
The King James version of this verse has a powerful way of describing God’s people of faith: His jewels.
17 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. Malachi 3:17 (KJV)
We are saved by grace through our faith in Jesus Christ, and He loves us unconditionally. But Jesus also said that we will be known by our fruit. It is a road of progress, not perfection, and there will be many slips and falls along our journey. But with God’s help, when we fail, we turn to Him for forgiveness, get right back up, and follow Him to allow the Holy Spirit to produce good works in our lives. This is a righteous fruit that will bless others as well as ourselves, with benefits that last into eternity.
The Lord loves everyone, but He goes on to tell us that there is still a distinction.
18 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 3:18 (ESV)
Like many who might read this, I am a person of faith. But my biggest challenge in day-to-day life is this: who am I seeking to please, myself or God? This seems to be the fundamental question at the root of how I choose my various activities or how I treat others who may or may not be respecting me. If I truly “fear” God and have a proper appreciation for who He is, pleasing Him will always be the top priority. And the vast majority of the time, when seeking to please Him, we end up experiencing a peace, contentment, and joy that far exceeds anything we could possibly achieve on our own.
That is a benefit all believers have for being One of God’s most treasured possessions, His jewels.
How can I focus more on pleasing God instead of only myself today?
Father God, we want to bring pleasure to You, the One who watches over and protects us every moment of the day and night. Help us to bear divine fruit for Your kingdom by the power of the Holy Spirit. Help us to revere and reflect the goodness of the Father and the Son as we go about our day. Forgive us for each time we fall short and help us to get back up into Your light and service whenever we do. We ask this in Jesus’ name, Amen.