Along with very valuable articles on prophetic truth, missionary labors in Japan and mighty men of God, there are two in this issue that teach assembly truth. The brief explanation of the unlearned by Doug Behen is crystal clear and the article by Lloyd Cain on The Ecclesia is unique in its presentation of the value God places on assembly testimony.
We often feel our smallness and weakness, yet it helps us to understand that testimony for God has always had remnant character. We need to remind our hearts that God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty That no flesh should glory in his presence (1 Cor 1:27,28). This is not cause for pride or complacency, but it gives all the glory to God and not to us.
Along with John 3:16 and 2 Timothy 3:16, Malachi 3:16 has a very special meaning to us. 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. And they shall be Mine, saith the Lord of hosts, in that day when I make up My jewels (Mal 3:16-17).
The Meaning of the Fear of the Lord
It has nothing to do with being afraid for ourselves. It is the fear of bringing dishonor to His name, failing to show reverence to Him and His Word, and a deep consciousness that His eye misses nothing and He knows our every thought and motive.
Members One of Another
There is no word in the original for the word often. This would suggest that it was on certain occasions that they spoke to one another, but this is not so. Their attitude was constant, they continued steadfastly in the fellowship of their fellow believers. It is interesting to ask what they spoke about. I am reminded of Anna, She spake of Him to all them that looked for redemption in Jerusalem (Luke 2:38). In all our conversation, how much do we speak of Him?
The Memorial Book
The Lord hearkened and heard. The word hearken means that God gave his ear to hear them. The word heard means that He bent down in love to listen. A book of remembrance was written before Him, that is, never out of His sight. We do not know by whom or when the book was written, but we know that we have His ear, His eye, and His heart of love, and we are written in His book.
They thought on His name. His name was being dishonored. The word thought means to rightly regard or esteem the worth of the name that is above every other name. James wrote, Do not men blaspheme that worthy name by which ye are called (James 2:7). Translators have rendered the word worthy by the English words honor, beauty, excellence and infinite worth, but they all fail to tell us the full worth of that blessed name. Jeremiah wrote, Thy words were found, and I did eat them; and Thy word was unto me the joy and rejoicing of mine heart: for I am called by Thy name, O Lord God of hosts (Jer 15:16).
And they shall be Mine in that day when I make up My jewels. The verb to make refers to God moving in His omniscient power and authority. That day is so very near. May we prove faithful as a remnant of those who think upon His name!