A Scroll of Remembrance

A scroll of remembrance was written in his presence concerning those who feared the LORD and honored his name.”  Malachi 3:16

Perhaps you’re tired and weary. Overwhelmed by your marriage, family and financial problems, worried about being popular and cool in school. Worried about grades. Maybe it seems like nothing is going right in your life.

Maybe this contributes to you being weary in well-doing. Haven’t we all been weary in well-doing at one time or another? I know I have. We get tired of the evil and hypocrisy in others and institutions and if we are honest, in ourselves. At those times, we get frazzled by the slowness of change. Painstakingly slow—incremental—change.

If we allow ourselves to continue in this vein, if we continue to focus on the evil and hypocrisy, and seeming prosperity of the wicked, without repentance, without reconsidering our life, and our thoughts and our ways, if we don’t cry out to God and others for help, our souls begin to fill with bitterness and resentment.

With our eyes off of Jesus, our perspective gets seriously off and we unknowingly mistake this new perspective for reality. Our attitude colors the world black and gray. We become cynical and spread the cynic’s poison. I once heard that cynicism is thinly veiled anger. So we become angry and contemptuous of others. Unbeknownst to us, we have climbed a high-horse. We’re self-righteous. We are cool and sophisticated, arrogantly condemning people with ease. We poke fun at the good people and the goodness we see and question even the apparently good motives of others. We elevate our opinion to the status of a god. We become miserable and make those around us miserable. Through our words and through our lives we declare, “It’s futile to follow Jesus, to believe the testimony of the Church throughout the ages.” But we hang around Christendom ‘cuz we’ve got nowhere else to go and nothing else to do.

Through our sinfully poisoned attitude and behavior, we manipulate others into having to walk on egg shells around us. Because well if they don’t, we’ll blast them, we’ll let them have it. God forbid they call us out and try to lovingly confront us. That’d be World War Three.

Said differently, we become what Scripture calls, hard-hearted. We become cold and hard toward God and others. We are hardened to life. If we allow such an attitude to continue, it’ll ruin us and become a force for evil in the lives of those surrounding us. And the thing is, everyone will know, but few if any will say anything to us. We’ve made it impossible for them to. They’re walking on eggshells don’t we know? Do we not see this in our churches and throughout the body of Christ? It is sad and in Christ, unnatural.

Now what I was just talking about is a pervasive attitude or bent that can enslave us to death if we are not vigilant. I wasn’t talking about the every-now-and then weariness in well-doing, when we want to throw in the towel. Maybe a lot of our weariness is due to over-commitment, lack of sleep, and not caring for our bodies. Still in our every-now-and-then weariness we can be miserable and make those around us miserable.

God hears the rumblings our hearts and words of our mouths. I think of Ezekiel 35:13 where he says, “You boasted against me and spoke against me without restraint, and I heard it.” But he is also very aware of joys, our trust, our fears, our strivings on his behalf. He is so aware that he records it.

I treasure the picture painted for us in the Malachi chapter three, “Then those who feared the LORD , talked with each other, and the LORD listened and heard.” Their conversation warmed his heart, it gave him great joy to know that in the end, they trusted him, even when it seemed like they were suffering and the wicked around them were prospering. Their words about God, their humble posture towards him, delighted him. It delighted him so much, that he wrote an Ode to them. God Almighty, the King, called for a scroll. He called it the Scroll of Remembrance. Within his presence, the names of those who feared and honored his name, the names of those who were in awe of him, were recorded.

And God says to them in Malachi and to us throughout Scripture and history and life:

“Listen. I’ve seen all you’ve gone through because of me. I’ve heard your cries and prayers and laments. I’ve seen your suffering over evil in the world and because of evil in the world. I’ve seen how you remained committed to me in sickness and in health, in riches and poverty. You’ve cherished me. And I cherish you. Oh how I love you! You have worshiped me with your body, soul, mind, and strength, because you know me. You know that although you don’t have all the answers, and although you might wonder about my ways and sometimes angrily and exasperatedly shake your fists at me, because of the seeming senselessness of it all, you know that my ways are higher than your ways (Isaiah 55:8).

You know that I love you and all of my Creation (Psalm 145). You know that I am faithful and true (Revelation 19:11). You know that I will judge the world in righteousness and the people with equity (Psalm 198:9). You don’t boast in your wisdom. You don’t boast in your power. You don’t boast in your riches. You revel in truly knowing me and understanding that I am the LORD who demonstrates unfailing love and who brings justice and righteousness to the earth. You revel in my delight in these things (Jeremiah 9:23,24).

You are convinced that I have not come to steal, kill, and destroy. That is the work of our enemy the devil. You are completely confident that I have come to bring life, abundant life (John 10:10). And I give my life to you and for you, that you may be whole. And you gladly pass on my life to others. You delight in me. Listen dear child, the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its rays. The glory radiating from me illumines your path and your mind. With it, I blanket you, warming you and comforting you in the long cold winter. Because of your knowledge of me, because you are deeply aware of my love for you, you go out and frolic like well-fed calves (Malachi 4:2). Believe me my child, you will live to see the day when there is a clear distinction between the righteous and the wicked, between those who serve God and those who do not (Malachi 3:18).

 If you open your eyes now you can start to see it. You believe me when I say that I am for you and not against you (Romans 8:31), don’t you? I will open your eyes so you can see like Elisha and his servant. Remember how they were surrounded by the Arameans and his servant was scared that they’d get taken out? But what happened? I opened the servant’s eyes and what did he see? He saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire surrounding him and Elisha (2 Kings 6:17). My angels were encamped around them and they are around you. They are ministering spirits to the heirs of salvation (Hebrews 1:14).

You’ve trusted me wholly, and found me wholly true. I am making all things new, do you not see it springing forth? Yes you do. Oh how I delight in you delighting in me. I have kept you as the apple of my eye (Psalm 17:8), I have written your name on the palm of my hands (Isaiah 49:16a). And I have recorded your name on my scroll of remembrance. Your recorded name is an ode to you, to your perseverance and love. As you stand firm, you will win life (Luke 21:19).

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