Torchbearers for Christ
Sunday, June 23, 2024
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The book of Malachi tells the sad story of a people whose love for God had grown cold. Although they still went through the motions of religious life, there was no heart in it and they didn’t really care much about God at all. They were rebellious, ungrateful and apathetic. God was saddened by their attitude and called them to return to Him, promising them that if they did so He would return to them (Malachi 3:7).
But against this dark background, we find a righteous remnant who loved the Lord and who shone like a light in the darkness. These people were different in that they had a good attitude to God, loving Him and seeking to please Him. In every age, God has had a remnant people who were willing to serve Him in a dark world. These are the people we will be considering and they are referred to in Malachi 3:16-17. There is so much we can learn from these people that we will be dividing our conclusions into two parts; this is Part 1.
First of all, we learn that these people are described three times as “those who feared the Lord” (Malachi 3:16,4:2). God’s people in both Old and New Testaments are described as God-fearing people. What does it mean to fear the Lord? To “fear” with regard to God means to reverence, to respect, to regard with awe and affection, to hold in such loving esteem as to be afraid of offending or grieving the one so admired. It means that I will have a respect for His majesty, I will submit to His authority, seeking to please Him under all circumstances. The fear of God may well be defined in the words of the Lord Jesus who, when referring to His relationship with His Father, said “I do always those things which please Him” (John 8:29).
Like these people we are called both to fear the Lord (Matthew 10:28) and to love Him  (Luke 10:27-28). Lest we should think that living in the fear of God is a miserable existence, the truth is that a wealth of blessings flow to those who live in the fear of God. Here are some of them. First there is happiness. Proverbs 28:14 tells us “Happy is the man who always fears God”. Then there is the rich promise of life, satisfaction and security. Proverbs 19:23 reads “The fear of the Lord tends to life and he that has it shall abide satisfied; he shall not be visited with evil. Further, we learn that God’s mercy is promised to the God-fearing person. “For as the heaven is high above the earth, so great is His mercy to them that fear Him: (Psalm 103:11). We are also told that “The angel of the Lord encamps round about them that fear Him and delivers them” (Psalm 34:7). To live in harmony with one’s Creator surely attracts a wealth of blessings.
Then we are told that this godly remnant “spoke to one another”. They enjoyed the company of fellow believers and how important this is for all of us. In Psalm 122:1 David said “I was glad when they said unto me, let us go into the house of the Lord”. Meeting with God’s people is intended to be more than a duty; it should be a delight. God does not ask us to walk the heavenly road alone. He invites us to join with other Christians while pressing on the upward way. What are some of the benefits of being part of God’s family? When I am with fellow believers I find I am encouraged and uplifted by their testimonies, their singing and our common faith (Romans 1:12). I need their example to follow and their correction when necessary (Psalm 141:5). In God’s house I see life in its proper perspective (Psalm 73:17). In the world I see injustices, cruelty, selfishness, dishonesty and unfairness. When I am with God’s people I am reminded that God is in charge and I find fresh strength for living. God’s people and His presence refresh me (Psalm 96:6). When I meet with fellow Christians I become grateful for life’s blessings.  The unhurried time in God’s house makes me appreciate the Lord and His many benefits. There is so much more that we can add to the blessings that flow from fellowship with God’s people. We will consider these in part 2 of our thoughts on “The Faithful Few”.
This article was written by Pastor Geoffrey Davies. He is a frequent contributor to this column. He lives in Melbourne, Australia, where he pastored a church for over twenty-five years.  For many years, he has travelled widely, continuing his ministry of encouragement and Bible teaching.