Malachi 3:13
"Your words against Me have been harsh," says the LORD. "Yet you ask, 'What have we spoken against You?'
Stout Words,' and Their ConfutationAlexander MaclarenMalachi 3:13
Religion Delineated and DepreciatedD. Thomas Malachi 3:13, 14

Your words have been stout against me, saith the Lord, etc. In these words we have religion delineated and depreciated.

I. PRACTICAL RELIGION DELINEATED. Three expressions are here used to represent it.

1. To serve God. "Ye have said, It is vain to serve God." There is a great difference between serving God and serving man.

(1) In the one case the servant benefits the master, in the other the sole benefit is the servant's.

(2) In the one the service is estimated by work actually done, in the other by work earnestly purposed.

(3) In the one there is a surrender of freedom; in the other there is the attainment of it. He who engages to serve man must surrender some portion of his liberty; he who serves God alone secures the highest freedom.

2. To keep God's ordinances. "We have kept his ordinance." This is only a branch of the service, or perhaps the method of doing it. God has ordinances or institutes, some of which are moral, some are ceremonial; the latter may cease to bind, the former are everlastingly in force.

3. To walk mournfully before the Lord. "We have walked mournfully before the Lord." To "walk" before the Lord is religion in perfection, religion in heaven. It implies an abiding consciousness of the Divine presence, and continual progress in the Divine will. Walking "mournfully" characterizes the religion of earth; it is associated with penitence, contrition, etc. The walk of religion is only mournful here.

II. PRACTICAL RELIGION DEPRECIATED. "Your words have been stout against me, saith the Lord. Yet ye say, What have we spoken so much against thee? Ye have said, It is vain to serve God: and what profit is it that we have kept his ordinance?" Men say this:

1. When religion does not answer their secular expectations. Many take up with religion in these days because of the secular good they expect will accrue from their profession of it; if the good comes not, they think it vain.

2. When they see the truly religious in poverty and affliction. Asaph saw this, and he said, "I have cleansed my heart in vain" (Psalm 73:13).

3. When they have taken up religion from selfish motives. A man who takes up with religion for the sake of good will get no good out of it: he will get disappointment and damnation; for "he that seeketh his life shall lose it." No truly religious man has said religion is vain; he feels it to be its own reward - the highest reward. For in truth, it is the only service on earth that will not prove vain. Whatever other labour fails, the success of this is ensured - ensured by the Word of God, the constitution of mind, and the arrangements of the universe. "Therefore be ye steadfast, unmovable, always abounding," etc. (1 Corinthians 15, 58). - D.T.

Ye shall be a delightsome land, saith the Lord of hosts.
It is not necessary to inquire minutely into the original application of these words. Enough that Christianity belongs to countries as well as individuals; and that the Church acts mightily upon every land to make it delightsome. It is more pertinent to observe that the promise follows a description of the efficacy of prayer, and includes the full blessing which God can pour out upon any people. What then are some of the heavenly and spiritual blessings in Christ Jesus necessary to make this land of ours delightsome in the eyes of the Lord of hosts?

I. A LAND IS DELIGHTSOME THAT IS PURELY AND ADEQUATELY SUPPLIED WITH CHRIST'S GOSPEL. It is a delightsome land to the tourist, if the scenery be fine and the air pure; to the economist, if trade and commerce flourish, and social arrangements tend to the accumulation of capital; to the worldly philanthropist, where employment is good, pauperism low, laws reasonably fair and equal, and the refinements of civilisation widely spread over the surface of the people. To the disciple of Jesus Christ a different standard everywhere presents itself. The spiritual aspect of every community first engrosses his attention and sympathies. To him the radical want is the Gospel — the Gospel with its humbling discoveries of man's fallen and lost estate by nature, and with its blessed proclamation of recovery by Christ. Without this there is no pardon for the people's sins, no comfort for their sorrows, no return to the image of God, or meetness for death, judgment, and eternity. A delightsome land we shall not be till the famine of the Word of God has everywhere come to an end — till not only in city and town and hamlet, all that have ears to hear may hear, but may rest assured of hearing the same glad tidings of great joy.

II. THAT RIGHTLY PRIZES CHRIST'S ORDINANCES. While it is certainly true that in proportion to the multiplication of Gospel agencies spiritual blessing follows as a general rule, it by no means follows to the degree that ought to-have been witnessed. There is sad neglect of the great salvation, neglect which only the Spirit of God can overcome — neglect which expresses and registers itself b-y man's treatment of the ordinances of salvation. Who Can follow the outwardly devout to their dwellings, and record what proportion refuse to honour God there? Who can pursue them to their closets, and see how many or how few walk with God and live in the presence of Christ?

III. THAT MULTIPLIES EXAMPLES OF CHRIST'S CONVERTING GRACE. Take away conversion and you take away Christianity. The two watchwords of evangelical religion are — the atonement and the new birth. With regard to the mode of conversion, it is confessedly various. The time may come, which some anticipate, when conversion shall be generally noiseless and gradual, effected in the early dawn of life, as the result of pious training, when the Spirit of God shall copiously descend as morning dew, and leave a blessing for all the coming day. But to some conversion must come as a wave of the sea, with a shock and an agitation. There must be a struggle between the old and the new — between self and Christ. The soul in such a conflict may be expected to be shaken to its centre, with fear, and shame, and sadness, ere faith come to its relief, and love toward the Crucified One gain the victory. The conversions which are going on within the circle of Christian influence make up the true history of the world. They are the events which are noted in the register of God, where the ordinary incidents of human history have no place. It is not the first birth of any man that glorifies God or satisfies Christ. Without the second it is an abortion and a catastrophe.

IV. THAT MAINTAINS A HIGH AND GENERAL STANDARD OF CONFORMITY TO THE IMAGE OF CHRIST. Conversion is nothing save as a step to sanctification. And sanctification is resemblance to Christ. The ultimate design of Christ's mission was to multiply Himself; to stamp Himself upon the minds, the hearts, and the lives of men! Such a conformity is indeed defective in every case: still, under the training of the Spirit, forms of moral loveliness have appeared, and are appearing, which differ radically from those which the world saw before Christ, or which it is capable of producing where His name is disowned. Would it not be a result of incalculable blessedness, were the higher standard of Christian life found in some to be more widely diffused, still more were a marked and decisive impress of Christian piety to become universal, or to approach to universality? The transformation of the professing Church into a visibly living body would certainly act on the world as life from the dead. Regenerate character to God's noblest work.

V. THAT ASSISTS IN BRINGING OTHER LANDS TO CHRIST. This was one attraction of ancient Israel to God. He saw in it the focus of blessing; the central point whence the light of His glory was everywhere to spread till the whole dark orb was illuminated. Such is Christian light that like that of the sun, it cannot be seen but by its own diffused and propagated rays. How can Africa, India, China, the South Seas ever call us blessed, unless we teach them our blessedness, and make them share it?

(John Cairns, D. D.)

Apply to our own land, which the people of all other lands deem blessed, and which in itself is delightsome. Different views of a country are taken by the tourist, artist, naturalist, economist, philanthropist, and Christian. Compare our land with others in regard to its spiritual condition and privileges.

1. An adequate supply of pure Gospel ordinances.

2. An appreciative attendance on the faithful administration of them.

3. A gratifying result in the conversion of sinners and the edification of believers.

4. An earnest effort to supply the whole land with them.

5. A zealous endeavour to extend to all lands the full blessings of them.

(Wm. Ormiston, D. D.)

Jacob, Levi, Levites, Malachi
Arrogant, Says, Speaking, Spoken, Stout, Strong, Wherein, Yet
1. Of the messenger, majesty, and grace of Christ.
7. Of the rebellion,
8. sacrilege,
13. and infidelity of the people.
16. The promise of blessing to those who fear God.

Dictionary of Bible Themes
Malachi 3:13-15

     5821   criticism, among believers

The Lord Coming to his Temple
Westminster Abbey. November, 1874. Malachi iii. 1, 2. "The Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to His temple. . . . But who may abide the day of His coming? and who shall stand when He appeareth? for He is like a refiner's fire, and like fuller's sope." We believe that this prophecy was fulfilled at the first coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. We believe that it will be fulfilled again, in that great day when He shall judge the quick and the dead. But it is of neither of these events
Charles Kingsley—All Saints' Day and Other Sermons

January 19. "Prove Me Now Herewith" (Mal. Iii. 10).
"Prove me now herewith" (Mal. iii. 10). We once heard a simple old colored man say something that we have never forgotten. "When God tests You it is a good time for you to test Him by putting His promises to the proof, and claiming from Him just as much as your trials have rendered necessary." There are two ways of getting out of a trial. One is to simply try to get rid of the trial, and be thankful when it is over. The other is to recognize the trial as a challenge from God to claim a larger blessing
Rev. A. B. Simpson—Days of Heaven Upon Earth

The Unchanging Lord
'I am the Lord, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed.' MALACHI iii. 6. The scriptural revelations of the divine Name are always the basis of intensely practical admonition. The Bible does not think it worth while to proclaim the Name of God without building on the proclamation promises or commandments. There is no 'mere theology' in Scripture; and it does not speak of 'attributes,' nor give dry abstractions of infinitude, eternity, omniscience, unchangeableness, but lays stress
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

A Dialogue with God
'Return unto Me, and I will return unto you, saith the Lord of Hosts. But ye say, Wherein shall we return?'--MALACHI iii. 7 (R.V.). In previous sermons we have considered God's indictment of man's sin met by man's plea of 'not guilty,' and God's threatenings brushed aside by man's question. Here we have the climax of self-revealing and patient love in God's wooing voice to draw the wanderer back, met by man's refusing answer. These three divine utterances taken together cover the whole ground of
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

The Last Word of Prophecy
'Behold, I will send My messenger, and he shall prepare the way before Me: and the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to His temple, even the Messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, He shall come, saith the Lord of Hosts. 2. But who may abide the day of His coming? and who shall stand when He appeareth? for He is like a refiner's fire, and like fullers' soap: 3. And He shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver: and He shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

'Stout Words,' and their Confutation
'Your words have been stout against Me, saith the Lord: yet ye say, What have we spoken so much against Thee? 14. Ye have said, It is vain to serve God; and what profit is it that we have kept His ordinance, and that we have walked mournfully before the Lord of Hosts? 15. And now we call the proud happy; yea, they that work wickedness are set up; yea, they that tempt God are even delivered. 16. Then they that feared the Lord spake often one to another: and the Lord hearkened, and heard it; and a
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

The Lord Coming to his Temple
The LORD , whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to His temple; even the messenger of the covenant in whom ye delight: Behold, he shall come, saith the LORD of hosts. But who may abide the day of his coming? and who shall stand when he appeareth? For he is like a refiner's fire, and like a fuller's soap, -- and he shall purify the sons of Levi -- that they may offer unto the LORD an offering in righteousness. W hereunto shall we liken the people of this generation? and to what are they like? (Luke 7:31)
John Newton—Messiah Vol. 1

The Immutability of God
"Great God, how infinite art thou, What worthless worms are we!" But while the subject humbles the mind it also expands it. He who often thinks of God, will have a larger mind than the man who simply plods around this narrow globe. He may be a naturalist, boasting of his ability to dissect a beetle, anatomize a fly, or arrange insects and animals in classes with well nigh unutterable names; he may be a geologist, able to discourse of the megatherium and the plesiosaurus, and all kinds of extinct
Charles Haddon Spurgeon—Spurgeon's Sermons Volume 1: 1855

God's Jewels.
(Schools.) MALACHI III. 17. "They shall be Mine, saith the Lord of Hosts, in that day when I make up My jewels." There is a legend of old time which tells us how a certain Jewish Rabbi returned to his home after a long absence. His first question was--"Where are my boys?" for his wife had greeted him alone. Then, instead of answering her husband's question, the wife asked his advice. She told him that some years before someone had lent her something very precious, and she would know whether after
H. J. Wilmot-Buxton—The Life of Duty, a Year's Plain Sermons, v. 2

The Unchangeableness of God
The next attribute is God's unchangeableness. I am Jehovah, I change not.' Mal 3:3. I. God is unchangeable in his nature. II. In his decree. I. Unchangeable in his nature. 1. There is no eclipse of his brightness. 2. No period put to his being. [1] No eclipse of his brightness. His essence shines with a fixed lustre. With whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.' James 1:17. Thou art the same.' Psa 102:27. All created things are full of vicissitudes. Princes and emperors are subject to
Thomas Watson—A Body of Divinity

All Manner of Precious Stones
Gerhard Ter Steegen Mal. iii. 17 There it is fair, Where thousand, thousand flames for evermore In God's high palace glow, No more they light the dark and misty shore, As long ago: They burn, a crown of every radiant stone, For ever and for ever round the throne, Christ's diadem. Eternal lamps that never can be dim, Fed by the golden oil that flows to them For ever from the Heart whence flowed the Blood, They shine with light of every precious gem, Light of the joy of God. Past, pain and sorrow,
Frances Bevan—Hymns of Ter Steegen, Suso, and Others

They Shall He Mine, Saith the Lord. Mal 3:16-18

John Newton—Olney Hymns

The Fellowship of those who Fear the Lord. --Malachi iii. 16-18; iv. 1
The fellowship of those who fear the Lord.--Malachi iii. 16-18; iv. 1. When those who fear'd the Lord of old Met oft, and spoke with one accord, A book was written, and enroll'd Their faithful names before the Lord. They shall be mine, Jehovah said, And as a signet on my hand, A crown of glory for my head, Among my chosen jewels stand. And I will spare them in that day, Even as a father spares his son, When all the proud are swept away, The wicked, root and branch, undone. Then shall my righteousness
James Montgomery—Sacred Poems and Hymns

Whether this is True: "God was Made Man"?
Objection 1: It would seem that this is false: "God was made man." For since man signifies a substance, to be made man is to be made simply. But this is false: "God was made simply." Therefore this is false: "God was made man." Objection 2: Further, to be made man is to be changed. But God cannot be the subject of change, according to Malachi 3:6: "I am the Lord, and I change not." Hence this is false: "God was made man." Objection 3: Further, man as predicated of Christ stands for the Person of
Saint Thomas Aquinas—Summa Theologica

Whether it was Fitting for Christ to Ascend into Heaven?
Objection 1: It would seem that it was not fitting for Christ to ascend into heaven. For the Philosopher says (De Coelo ii) that "things which are in a state of perfection possess their good without movement." But Christ was in a state of perfection, since He is the Sovereign Good in respect of His Divine Nature, and sovereignly glorified in respect of His human nature. Consequently, He has His good without movement. But ascension is movement. Therefore it was not fitting for Christ to ascend. Objection
Saint Thomas Aquinas—Summa Theologica

Whether that Fire Will Engulf the Wicked?
Objection 1: It would seem that that fire will not engulf the wicked. For a gloss on Malachi 3:3, "He shall purify the sons of Levi," says that "it is a fire consuming the wicked and refining the good"; and a gloss on 1 Cor. 3:13, "Fire shall try every man's work," says: "We read that there will be a twofold fire, one that will cleanse the elect and will precede the judgment, another that will torture the wicked." Now the latter is the fire of hell that shall engulf the wicked, while the former is
Saint Thomas Aquinas—Summa Theologica

Sunday-School Hymns.
SHEPHERD OF TENDER YOUTH. [Greek: Stomion polon adaon] We are assured by repeated references in the patristic writings that the primitive years of the Christian Church were not only years of suffering but years of song. That the despised and often persecuted "Nazarenes," scattered in little colonies throughout the Roman Empire, did not forget to mingle tones of praise and rejoicing with their prayers could readily be believed from the much-quoted letter of a pagan lawyer, written about as long
Theron Brown—The Story of the Hymns and Tunes

In the Temple at the Feast of Tabernacles.
(October, a.d. 29.) ^D John VII. 11-52. ^d 11 The Jews therefore sought him at the feast, and said, Where is he? [It was now eighteen months since Jesus had visited Jerusalem, at which time he had healed the impotent man at Bethesda. His fame and prolonged obscurity made his enemies anxious for him to again expose himself in their midst. John here used the word "Jews" as a designation for the Jerusalemites, who, as enemies of Christ, were to be distinguished from the multitudes who were in doubt
J. W. McGarvey—The Four-Fold Gospel

The Never Changing One.
"JESUS Christ the same yesterday, and to-day and forever" (Heb. xiii:8). Blessed truth and precious assurance for us poor, weak creatures, yea, among all His creatures the most changing; He changeth not. "For I am the Lord, I change not" (Mal. iii:6). "Of old hast Thou laid the foundation of the earth, and the heavens are the work of Thy hands. They shall all perish, but Thou shalt endure: yea all of them shall wax old like a garment, as a vesture shalt Thou change them, and they shall be changed;
Arno Gaebelein—The Lord of Glory

The Sinner Sentenced.
1, 2.The sinner called upon to hear his sentence.--3. God's law does now in general pronounce a curse.--4. It pronounces death.--5. And being turned into hell.--6. The judgement day shall come.--7, 8. The solemnity of that grand process described according to scriptural representations of it.--9. With a particular illustration of the sentence, "Depart, accursed," &c.--10. The execution wilt certainly and immediately follow.--11. The sinner warned to prepare for enduring it. The reflection of a sinner
Philip Doddridge—The Rise and Progress of Religion in the Soul

Jesus, the Mediator of the New Covenant
"I give thee for a covenant of the people."--ISA. xlii. 6, xlix. 8. "The Lord shall suddenly come to His temple, even the Messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in."--MAL. iii. 1. "Jesus was made Surety of a better covenant."--HEB. vii. 22. "The Mediator of the Better Covenant, established upon better promises . . . The Mediator of the New Covenant. . . Ye are come to Jesus, the Mediator of the New Covenant."--HEB. viii. 6, ix. 15, xii. 24. WE have here four titles given to our Lord Jesus in
Andrew Murray—The Two Covenants

Troubles of Lingering at the Crossing
TROUBLES OF LINGERING AT THE CROSSING Some time ago I consecrated to God for entire sanctification and thought I was sanctified. Then I began to doubting whether I was wholly sanctified; so I consecrated again. This I have done a number of times; in fact, so many times that I don't know what to do. Can you help me any in this difficulty? I am in doubts about my consecration. I am as consecrated as I know how to be, yet there is a feeling of unreality and uncertainty about it that is distressing,
Robert Lee Berry—Adventures in the Land of Canaan

His Schools and Schoolmasters.
(LUKE 1.) "Oh to have watched thee through the vineyards wander, Pluck the ripe ears, and into evening roam!-- Followed, and known that in the twilight yonder Legions of angels shone about thy home!" F. W. H. MYERS. Home-Life--Preparing for his Life-Work--The Vow of Separation--A Child of the Desert Zacharias and Elisabeth had probably almost ceased to pray for a child, or to urge the matter. It seemed useless to pray further. There had been no heaven-sent sign to assure them that there was any
F. B. Meyer—John the Baptist

Whether God is Altogether Immutable?
Objection 1: It seems that God is not altogether immutable. For whatever moves itself is in some way mutable. But, as Augustine says (Gen. ad lit viii, 20), "The Creator Spirit moves Himself neither by time, nor by place." Therefore God is in some way mutable. Objection 2: Further, it is said of Wisdom, that "it is more mobile than all things active [Vulg.'mobilior']" (Wis. 7:24). But God is wisdom itself; therefore God is movable. Objection 3: Further, to approach and to recede signify movement.
Saint Thomas Aquinas—Summa Theologica

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