“13 “Your words have been harsh against Me,” Says the Lord, “Yet you say, ‘What have we spoken against You?’……18 Then you shall again discern Between the righteous and the wicked, Between one who serves God And one who does not serve Him.,”. Mal 3:13-18
It is imperative for God’s elect in the Gospel of God’s Righteousness which constitutes Jesus’ baptism, death and resurrection to know that to serve the Living God is the greatest privilege on earth. Serving God is utterly different from serving anyone else.
Do you ever get discouraged in serving God to the point that you feel like quitting? Prior to my saving knowledge in the Gospel Truth of God’s Righteousness, I have encountered many who have served God for years but they feel burned out and quit. In some cases they drop out from church altogether, claiming that they can worship God better by avoiding church. Apparently, they felt to serve God was too demanding and often unappreciated. Our text emphasizes , “why it is a privilege to serve God?.”
The people in Malachi’s day had grown indifferent to God’s great love. The prophets seeks to show them that the problem was not God’s part. The problem was their sinfully selfish and temporal perspective. Instead, they needed to see things from God’s eternal perspective and serve Him by faith in the Righteousness of God. Behind their wrong attitude was the age-old issue that is found in Mal 2:17, “why do the wicked prosper and the godly suffer even when they are serving God?” God knows that even the elects at NCCkl wrestle with it when we are tempted to think that it is vain to serve God. The prophet shows us that we should serve God because He notices and cares deeply for all who serve Him. There are two groups in our text. A group to avoid Mal 3:13-15 and a group to be in Mal 3:16-18.
A Group To Avoid Mal 3: 13-15
According to the text, this group grumbled against God, complaining that there is no reward for serving Him. They felt they may as well be an arrogant, wicked person who test God and escapes. This group spoke arrogantly or harshly against the Lord but when the prophet confronted them, they ask, “what have we spoken against You?” As vs 14-15 show, they weren’t directly shaking their fists at God, rather they were complaining to one another. These people were not God oriented and so they spoke brazenly to one another, voice their common complaints as if God was deaf and non-existent. Their complain was, “it is vain to serve God and by the way what privilege is it that they get in serving God?” They called the arrogant blessed and said that wicked people who don’t serve are not only prospering but also test God and escape. Vs 15 These people in this group have several characteristics that the elects should avoid namely, they are sitting in judgment on God rather than submitting to His dealings with them, they had a self centered attitude, they had lost motivation for holy living and they constantly focused on the seeming prosperity of the wicked and had lost the eternal perspective.
A Group To Be In Mal 3:16-18
According to the text, God notices and cares for those who fear and serve Him in spite of hardship and challenges. They were probably the minority group, numbers-wise. God always has a faithful remnant who takes it as a privilege to serve Him in spite of many difficulties. Note in Mal 3:18, those who serve God are called righteous whereas those who defy God are called wicked. That is not to say as serving earns the label of ‘righteous’. We can do nothing to commend ourselves to God. Our righteousness is only attained by our faith in the baptism, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Rom 3:21-26 Serving God is a distinguishing mark of the righteous person whereas not serving God marks the wicked, who live for themselves. These people in this group possess several good characteristics namely, they fear God and esteem His Name above the opinions of others, they encourage one another in the face of surrounding evil and they are especially noticed and cared for by God.
The point is, we need fellowship with like minded elects in order to recognize the greatest privilege to serve God with our lives.
Serving with the right attitude will enable us to stand firm against wrong ideas that come from the world, the flesh and the devil.
If all that the elects do is attend church and leave but they don’t fellowship with other believers during weekly ministries, they will struggle to maintain a godly perspective in the face of the evil around them. That is why Heb 10:24-25 commands us to think about how to stimulate one another to serve and not to forsake assembling together but to encourage one another all the more as we see the day drawing near.