In the very last verses of the OT, God causes the prophet to use two very striking and arresting words. One of these is the word Remember: “Remember the law of Moses my servant, which I commanded unto him in Horeb for all Israel, the statutes and ordinances” (Mal. 4: 4). The prophetic testimony was about to close—there was nothing more to be said. The nation was to be left to its own devices for four hundred years—four silent centuries during which God said nothing to His people! What was to be the pathway of the godly through this long period, a period in which faith would be continually assailed by the eroding winds of unbelief? Here is the divine answer: “Remember the law of Moses” (my emphasis). Faith in God’s Word—nothing else can carry the saint through this world when heaven is silent. God had spoken, God had promised, and the way of faith was to believe that God would one day deliver on those promises.
Why was Simeon in the temple “awaiting the consolation of Israel” (Luke 2: 25)? Was it not because he had heard from the Word of God that there was such a thing? What was Anna fasting for (see v 37)? Was it not because her longed-for hope had not yet come? Why indeed was she able to speak of Him, when He came, “to all those who waited for redemption in Jerusalem” (v 38)? Was it not because they had read and heard from God’s book that redemption was coming, however many long centuries might intervene?
Though the interpretation of Malachi’s prophecy belongs to the Jew, has it also no application to you and I? Surely it has. We are the recipients of “the greatest and precious promises” (2 Pet. 1: 4), and yet, like it was for those Jews of long ago, the heavens remain seemingly oblivious to the affairs of men, leading unbelief to scoff that “Where is the promise of his coming? for from the time the fathers fell asleep all things remain thus from [the] beginning of [the] creation” (2 Pet. 3: 4). What is the resource of the Christian as he passes through this dark world, a world in which everything is seemingly calculated to undermine faith in Christ and His coming again? It is simply this—get back to Scripture, and believe what God has said!
In that great chapter of the faithful, we read of those who “died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them from afar off and embraced [them], and confessed that they were strangers and sojourners on the earth” (Heb. 11: 13). They rested on what they had heard and read, and though the years rolled by, they were restful about it all. Why? Because God had told it to them! They were not interested in the opinions of science, philosophy or religion—all that mattered to them was God’s Word. Yet how often we forget it! How many voices in this world compete to have our ear, to sway our thoughts and, if we would but realise it, subvert our faith in God? Remember, says God, the Law of Moses! The day is dark, darker still than that which followed after Malachi, and we need a light for our path, however long or short it may be. Reader, lay hold of Scripture, that book of “the things concerning himself” (Luke 24: 27)—read it, study it, mediate upon it, believe it—Remember it. Men around us, even professing Christians, are turning “away their ear from the truth” (2 Tim. 4: 4) and have gone after fables. Do not be one of them!
What was the other great word that Malachi uses? Behold: “Behold, I send unto you Elijah the prophet, before the coming of the great and terrible day of Jehovah” (Mal. 4: 5). After Malachi’s prophetic voice was stilled, many centuries would pass in which there was no message from heaven, no word from the Lord. And yet, God says, a day would one day come in which the prophetic office would be restored, and He would speak again, for Behold, He would send Elijah the prophet! But why? For “he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse” (v 6). Elijah’s coming was the moral preparation for the coming of the Messiah, “for behold, the day cometh, burning as a furnace … And unto you that fear my name shall the Sun of righteousness arise with healing in his wings; and ye shall go forth and leap like fatted calves” (vs. 1, 2, my emphasis). Behold! The word is designed to arrest us, to stop us in our tracks and fix our attention and gaze upon the vision that God would bring before us—for this is clearly the eye of faith. To the natural eye nothing would seem as unlikely a scene as that set out by the prophet, for now men “hold the proud for happy; yea, they that work wickedness are built up; yea, they tempt God, and they escape” (Mal. 3: 15). And is not the moral situation exactly the same today? Men go on in their evil, and the heavens are silent and seemingly oblivious. Yet faith understands with certainty that “Behold, a king shall reign in righteousness” (Is. 32: 1), and He “will search Jerusalem with lamps, and punish the men that are settled on their lees, that say in their heart, Jehovah will not do good, neither will he do evil” (Zeph. 1: 12). Thus those that remember are also those that behold even now, and is their great privilege to be among those who “love his appearing” (2 Tim. 4: 8). May we be like those of long ago who “feared Jehovah” and “thought upon his name”, for He will observe it, and write it in His book of remembrance, and such will be unto Him “a peculiar treasure … in the day that I prepare” (Mal. 3: 16, 17)!