AND THE LORD HARKENED…

Malachi 3:16 Then they that feared the LORD spake often one to another: and the LORD hearkened, and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before him for them that feared the LORD, and that thought upon his name.

James Hastings:

“They spake one with another.” It is the great statement of fellowship, of the gathering together in a community of hearts holding the same treasure, of characters that were growing into the same likeness;

it is the statement of a great necessity;

darkness all around, light becomes focussed;

evil spreading its ramifications on every hand, children of righteousness come close together.

The Persons

Who were they?

They are characterized by two phrases:

(1) “They that feared the Lord”;

(2) “and that thought upon his name.”

The Topics

What was the subject of their discourse?

The worlds politics, and the worlds pleasures?

The last entertainment, or the latest scandal?

The newest book, or the latest fashion?

It is interesting to note how every age is but a repetition of the last. Men in those days had their feasts, where the viol and the tabret and the harp played an important part, and where they sat over their wine until they had redness of eyes; and they would no doubt then, as now, hold up the glass to the light, and praise its amber or ruby colour, commending its bouquet and flavour, and speaking of the vintage whence it came.

And over the wine they would talk of the sports and games, the feastings and pleasures of the hour, and many a jest would go round the board, followed by laughter and glee.

Was it of such things as these that “they that feared the Lord” spoke when they met together, “and the Lord hearkened and heard”?

Women had in those days their ornaments, “their cauls, and round tires like the moon, their chains, and bracelets, and mufflers; their bonnets and broad bands, and tablets and earrings, their rings, and changeable suits of apparel; their mantles, and wimples, and crisping pins, their glasses and fine linen, and hoods and veils.”

Was it of these that the women who “feared the Lord spake one with another”?

Certainly not.

The Lord would hardly have thought it worth while to bow the heavens and come down “to hearken and hear” and to keep “a book of remembrance” for conversation such as this.

It was of higher and better things than these that the holy men and women of old spoke:

of God and His grace,

of His mercy and goodness,

of His judgments against sin,

of His lovingkindness to His people.

The topics of Christian conversation are as varied as the experiences of the Christian life. But these are sure to be leading topics, all centring in the Unspeakable Gift.

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