#DailyDevotion Do You Think Only The Good Die Young?
Malachi 3:13–18 13“You stubbornly oppose Me in what you say,” says the LORD. “You ask, ‘How did we talk against you? 14“You said, ‘It’s useless to serve God. What did we get whenever we did what He wanted and walked in mourning before the LORD of armies? 15According to our experience people are happier if they forget about God, more successful if they do wrong. Yes, you can challenge God and get away with it.”” 16Then those who respected the LORD talked to one another. And the LORD was interested and listened. And a record was kept before Him of those who respect the LORD and think highly of His name. 17“They will be Mine,” says the LORD of armies, “on that day when I act, they will be My precious possession, and I will spare them as a man spares his son who serves him. 18Then you will again see the difference between a righteous person and a wicked person, one who serves God and one who doesn’t.
Malachi is a prophet of 5th century prophets and one of the last. Judah had returned from exile. They were rebuilding Jerusalem and the temple. You would think the people’s hearts would have changed by then, having been in exile for seventy years for rebelling against the LORD their God. Yet people’s hearts are often quickly turn away from God. Man may be religious by nature but his loyalty towards his maker is quite fickle. Only as long as everything is going as planned do we give him thanks and praise. As soon as things go awry the questions start popping off, “How can a loving God allow this? How can an almighty God let this happen?” and so forth.
The line of questioning in Malachi’s day is in 14 and 15, “It’s useless to serve God. What did we get when we did what he wanted? Everyone else seems better off and happier if they forget God and more successful if they do wrong.” Have you ever said these words or something like them? Have you heard them before. Asaph the psalmist in Psalm 73 most certainly had. He writes: 2“But my feet almost slipped, and I almost lost my footing 3because I was jealous of those who are proud and saw how the wicked prosper. 4They suffer no pains. Their bodies are healthy. 5They have no drudgery like ordinary people and aren’t plagued like others. 6therefore, pride is their necklace and crime the garment that covers them.” That doesn’t sound too good. But then the Psalmist thinks about it some more and then says, 16“So I thought this over to understand it -it looked too difficult to me, 17until I came into God’s holy place and saw the end in store for them. 18Surely You will set them in slippery places and make them fall into ruin. 19How quickly they will be destroyed, completely wiped out in terrifying ways!”
We aren’t told what those who feared the LORD said when they heard their fellow Israelites speak like this. Since the accusation against the LORD by those who didn’t fear him sounds so much like the thoughts of the Psalmist perhaps they were discussing Psalm 73. Having discussed the Psalm they believed the conclusion which was revealed to the Psalmist and trusted in the LORD. I find it amazing and you should too that the LORD listened intently to the discussion of those who feared him. Seriously, God is more concerned and cares for you more than you can possibly know.
To such people who fear the LORD and trust in him, who believe his promises no matter what the circumstances and life tries to tell them, to such people the LORD Jesus Christ says, “They are mine.” That is good news. Jesus the LORD claims them as his own precious possession. On the Day of the LORD when Christ Jesus reveals himself to the world in judgment, those who continued to thank, praise and trust in him despite their circumstances he will remember them and spare them. On that day, they will see with the Psalmist the reward of the wicked and how God punishes iniquity. We who fear and trust the LORD Jesus Christ will escape that punishment and receive the rewards of their faith, the kingdom of God.
Heavenly Father, always keep our eyes open to the truth which the world cannot see which is your eye is always on us. May we see uou will fulfill all your promises and reward those who put their faith in your son Jesus Christ and punish the wicked. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.