GOD’S REMNANT: God’s treasured possessions
“Your words have been hard against me, says the LORD. But you say, ‘How have we spoken against you?’ 14 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? 15 And now we call the arrogant blessed. Evildoers not only prosper but they put God to the test and they escape.’” 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.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. 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. “For behold, the day is coming, burning like an oven, when all the arrogant and all evildoers will be stubble. The day that is coming shall set them ablaze, says the LORD of hosts, so that it will leave them neither root nor branch. 2 But for you who fear my name, the sun of righteousness shall rise with healing in its wings. You shall go out leaping like calves from the stall. 3 And you shall tread down the wicked, for they will be ashes under the soles of your feet, on the day when I act, says the LORD of hosts (Malachi 3:13-4:3 ESV).
What’s it all about?
Malachi introduces two groups of people: 1) those who reject God, and 2) the remnant who fear (reverence, worship) God. The first group proudly announces that serving God is a waste of time. Conversely, the other group worships God in humility.
In the midst of rebellion and depravity, God announces that He has a remnant of chosen people who honor and worship Him. God’s response to their “words” (confession) was to record them in a book of remembrance, which is possibly a metaphor communicating that God will always know them by name. God’s grace is vividly displayed amidst a culture that pretends to know Him by the setting apart of a remnant who stand firm in their theological convictions and offer praise to His name.
1. God accuses the people of speaking “hard” or “harsh” words against Him. Based on everything you have read in Malachi thus far, what is the root cause of such a negative attitude toward God?
2. Why are the people claiming that it is useless to serve God (3:13-15)?
3. What does the first group’s negative attitude reveal about their theology (3:14)
4. Who are those who fear the Lord and how do they respond to God (3:16)? (cf. 1 Kings 19:18 & Romans 11:4-5)
5. Describe the ways in which God blesses the remnant of believers (3:16-17).
6. How is God glorified in both the righteous and the wicked (3:18-4:3)? (cf. Romans 9:22-24)
In the midst of a godless and wicked generation, God always has a remnant of people who worship and serve Him with unspeakable joy. Knowing that we are His treasured possessions is a source of joy and a motivation to persevere in the faith.
Individual Study Questions – Scripture: 1 Peter 2:1-12
1. Explain how Peter described Jesus in relation to His church (2:4).
2. Describe the significance of Peter’s description of the church as “living stones” that are being “built up as a spiritual house” (2:5).
3. What is the significance of Jesus being described as the cornerstone (2:6-8)?
4. Explain the significance of the following descriptions of the church (2:9-11)
A. Chosen race:
B. A royal priesthood:
C. A holy nation:
D. A people for His own possession:
E. Sojourners and exiles:
5. What is one of God’s purposes in calling us to Himself (2:9)?
So put away all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander. 2 Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up into salvation— 3 if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is good. 4 As you come to him, a living stone rejected by men but in the sight of God chosen and precious, 5 you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. 6 For it stands in Scripture: “Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone, a cornerstone chosen and precious, and whoever believes in him will not be put to shame.” 7 So the honor is for you who believe, but for those who do not believe, “The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone,” 8 and “A stone of stumbling, and a rock of offense.” They stumble because they disobey the word, as they were destined to do. 9 But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. 10 Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy. 11 Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul. 12 Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable, so that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation (1 Peter 2:1-12).