|설교 한 주일||September 25, 2011|
“Words in Silence”
(Reading of Malachi 3:13-18 – NIV)
13“You have said harsh things against me,” says the Lord. “Yet you ask, ‘What have we said against you?’
14“You have said, ‘It is futile to serve God. What did we gain by carrying out his requirements and going about like mourners before the Lord Almighty?
15But now we call the arrogant blessed. Certainly the evildoers prosper, and even those who challenge God escape.’”
16Then those who feared the Lord talked with each other, and the Lord listened and heard. A scroll of remembrance was written in his presence concerning those who feared the Lord and honored his name.
17“They will be mine,” says the Lord Almighty, “in the day when I make up my treasured possession. I will spare them, just as in compassion a man spares his son who serves him.
18And you will again see the distinction between the righteous and the wicked, between those who serve God and those who do not.
Verse 13 says, “You have said harsh things against me,” says the Lord. Do you have anyone who has said harsh things against you? And then, God continue to say, “Yet you ask, ‘What have we said against you?’” How much God was hurt? For instance, your son and daughter always speak against you. It might hurt. How much God was hurt? Did you ever make any address or expression against God so that God considered your words as harsh things? Not only that, you said, “What have we said against you?”
This is the sixth sermon of Malachi and the last sermon that we have so far from Old Testament. This sermon is the last to be delivered to the human race and then God kept His mouth closed for 400 years. This is the last sermon in the Old Testament and we had 400 years of long silence.
Yahweh said, “You have said harsh things against me.” How many times? I don’t know. What kind of words? I believe that the words is coming not you’re your brain, not your knowledge but the words are coming from your heart. “What have we said? How come I did it against you, my dear Lord?” “Because you forgot… you speak what you like…you do as what you like to do…and then you forgot…it hurt me.
Mark 7 says about when Jesus talked to the teachers because His disciples when they were eating never followed the tradition of the elders so they never wash their hands properly maybe. And then the teachers said, “Why your disciples never follow or keep the tradition of the elders?” But Jesus said, “These people honor me with their lips but their hearts are far from me.” Maybe we have so many lip services. People see your face. People see your garment – what you wear, what you put something, what you put on your feet. People see that but God sees your heart.
This is the explanation of God, “You have said, ‘It is futile to serve God…’” That word is a harsh thing against God. And then, “You have said, ‘What did we gain by carrying out His requirements?’” “To serve God, what did we gain? What did we have in our hands? What did we have in our pocket? What did we have in our house? What did we have in our business? It’s futile to serve God! I kept your word. I obeyed. I served you this way! I kept your commandments! There’s nothing I have, nothing I gained!” Maybe you said so or not but the people in that time said. Then, “You have said again that you remember and called even the arrogant blessed.” This is not my word, you can see in verse 15, “You have said to God, you have said in front of me, you have said in your heart, you have said in your life, ‘You see, even certainly the evildoers prosper… You see that bad cop, his business is good! He is kind of arrogant but he is even blessed! These evildoers, when I see them, they are blessed, they prosper! So, why I believe and serve God? I keep all things but why my life is like this?’ you said so before.” That was how God said. God said, “I’m hurt when you said so. I’m hurt when you thought. I’m hurt…” This is a big problem, you know if God said so. I hope nobody here did that but maybe your next generation, your sons and daughters, you educate them; discipline them. I’m telling you, this is the last sermon of the Old Testament.
There is even somebody who challenged God. “When I see even you non-believers challenge God, nothing happened; they escaped. The arrogant, the evildoers, these men even challenged God.” “You said to me that the arrogant is blessed…evildoers prosper…challenging God escape…” Brothers and sisters, do you know why I repeat this one again and again? The people, all those who said this sentence, word or expression to the Lord were very much narrowed in their minds. They saw when people prosper. They complain that there’s nothing to get from God. “God never bless me so that I have nothing today…” he said. So God said, “You have said harsh things against me.”
But brothers and sisters, this world is very small. At the same time, God said in the following verses in the same chapter verse 16, there are many people maybe in the same church, maybe in the same family, maybe in the same nation, “Those who feared the Lord…” There are many people who feared the Lord. So far, we have two parts or categories: one, harsh things always pour out; they see “I have no gain, prosperity, blessing…”; what they saw is gaining, prosperity, blessing, not God Himself. What is the real meaning in serving the Lord? When we see the continuation of verse 16, “Then those who feared the Lord talked with each other…” Brothers and sisters, let’s listen to this word and let’s learn from them. They talked with each other, about what? Yahweh said, “Yes, they said about their situation…” ‘Brother, today I have no food…Sister, I lost my job…Pastor, my son is sick…’ Maybe they said so in that kind of situation. They talked to each other. They were being the help and they consider each other. They made it so easy for them in that community. I think so. If there is something they have, “Brother, this is what I have…praise the Lord!” They never see something in the hands of the others. Do you know why? Their lives are filled with such great things already. It was the love of God. It was salvation in the grace. Who are the real evildoers?
Again in verse 16, the people complain and then those who fear God talked with each other about the love and the law of God. It says, “The Lord listened…” The Lord listens to what you are talking about. “…and the Lord heard.” Listen very carefully what you are talking about. God is listening to what you are talking about. Do you know what ‘listening to’ means? Put a spy cam in your life; kept your life; kept your mouth into your mouth. Every noise, every sounds, every feeling and complaining from your heart, God listens very carefully. Of course when you fight each other, God listens.
“…A scroll of remembrance was written in His presence concerning those who feared the Lord and honored His name…” When you serve the Lord in the fear, in the honor of His name, God will write it down. Here’s the promise of God, “They will be mine and they will not be mine,” Yahweh said. ‘This is mine,’ when you say so, it implies ‘That is not mine.’ “…In the day when I make up my treasured possession.” This is something what God says ‘that treasure’; something God named ‘that treasure’ I don’t know what. “…I will spare them, the people whom I chose…” Again He says in verse 18, “You will again see the distinction between the righteous and wicked…” You will see by your eyes. “…between those who serve God and those who do not…” In that time, the time of God, when God is working, you will see again the distinction between all those who serve God and those who do not serve God. But that’s not the end point. I was listening to the word of God last night, “You will be witness. You will see by your own eyes all those who can serve who will able to serve and all those who lost the chance to serve anymore for eternity…” Do you want to miss the chance?
Have you been pessimistic about God? “To serve the Lord, what is my life?” God listens to what you are talking about. Those words come from your heart, the words that come from the silence. God listen even non-verbal language. And, God remembers that even God written it down in the scroll of remembrance. Why? He forgot? God remembers everything. Why He needs to write down? Maybe you have bank book? Why do you have bank book? In the bank there is computer and everything is in the data base. Why do you have it? Bank knows everything. Bank has computer. Why God write down? Dear brothers and sisters, to show it to you as evidence. Maybe that is not Biblical; that’s my translation. God distinguishes; maybe goat, you have another part. But there is still more to come and there is yet more to be revealed which is there is somebody who can serve the Lord; there are people group who had no more chance in serving God. In faith, I have salvation. In faith, I never gave any harsh things against God even circumstances; even people teasing against me, it doesn’t matter because I have great things that I cannot compare with any other things. That’s the love of God, the salvation of Jesus Christ.
Rev. David Bang