on Malachi 3 :16
They that feared the Lord - There were a few godly in the land, who, hearing the language and seeing the profligacy of the rebels above, concluded that some signal mark of God's vengeance must fall upon them; they, therefore, as the corruption increased, cleaved the closer to their Maker. There are three characteristics given of this people, viz.: -
1. They feared the Lord. They had that reverence for Jehovah that caused them to depart from evil, and to keep his ordinances.
2. They spake often one to another. They kept up the communion of saints. By mutual exhortation they strengthened each other's hands in the Lord.
3. They thought on his name. His name was sacred to them; it was a fruitful source of profound and edifying meditation. The name of God is God himself in the plenitude of his power, omniscience, justice, goodness, mercy, and truth. What a source for thinking and contemplation! See how God treats such persons: The Lord hearkened to their conversation, heard the meditations of their hearts; and so approved of the whole that a book of remembrance was written before the Lord - all their names were carefully registered in heaven. Here is an allusion to records kept by kings, Esther 6:1, of such as had performed signal services, and who should be the first to be rewarded.
on Malachi 3 :16
Then they that feared the Lord spake often among themselves - The proud-speaking of the ungodly called out the piety of the God-fearing. "The more the ungodly spake against God, the more these spake among themselves for God." Both went on until the Great Day of severance. True, as those said, the distinction between righteous and wicked was not made yet, but it was stored up out of sight. They "spake among themselves," strengthening each other against the ungodly sayings of the ungodly.
And the Lord hearkened and heard it - God, whom these thought an idle looker-on, or regardless, all the while (to speak after the manner of men) was "bending the ear" from heaven "and heard." Not one pious loyal word for Him and His glory, escaped Him.
And a book of remembrance was written before Him - Kings had their chronicles written wherein people's good or ill deeds toward them were recorded. But the image is one of the oldest in Scripture, and in the self-same words , "the Lord said to Moses, Write this, a memorial in a book." God can only speak to us in our own language. One expression is not more human than another, since all are so. Since with God all things are present, and memory relates to the past, to speak of God as "remembering" is as imperfect an expression in regard to God, as to speak of "a book." , "Forgetfulness hath no place with God, because He is in no way changed; nor remembrance, because He forgetteth not." Both expressions are used, only to picture vividly to our minds, that our deeds are present with God, for good or for evil; and in the Day of Judgment He will make them manifest to men and angels, as though read out of a book, and will requite them. So Daniel had said Daniel 7:10, "the judgment was set, and the books were opened." And John says Revelation 20:12, "The books were opened, and another book was opened, which is the book of life; and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works." So Moses says to God, Exodus 32:32, "If not, blot me out of Thy book which Thou hast written;" and David, prophesying, prays Psalm 69:28, "Let them be blotted out of the book of the living, and not be written among the righteous;" and our Lord bids His discipies Luke 10:20, "Rejoice in this, that your names are written in heaven."
And that thought upon His name - Rather, "esteemed, prized," it, in contrast with those who Malachi 1:6. "despised;" as, of Christ, when He should come, it is said Isaiah 53:3, "He was despised, and we esteemed Him not." "The thinking on His Name imports, not a bare thinking of, but a due esteem and awful regard of, so as with all care to avoid all things which may tend to the dishonor of it, as always in His presence and with respect to Him and fear of Him." "Those are meant who always meditate on the ways of the Lord and the knowledge of His Godhead, for His name is Himself, and He is His Name;" "the wise in heart who know the mystery of the awful glorious Name."
on Malachi 3 :16
3:16 Then - When contempt of God was grown so high. That feared the Lord - Those that were truly religious. Spake often - Conversed together the more frequently. And a book - All this is spoken after the manner of men. For them - On their behalf.