‘Those who feared the LORD spoke to one another. The LORD took notice and listened. So a book of remembrance was written before him for those who feared the LORD and had high regard for His name.’ Malachi 3:16 CSB
Imagine for a minute what the library in Heaven looks like. Its shelves must stretch for miles and miles! The prophet Malachi is saying something here that’s not only profound but exhilarating.
Whenever you or I or any of His children speak reverently about Him and the things pertaining to His Kingdom, He takes notice, then preserves our conversations for eternity.
God – Creator, Designer, and Sustainer of the Universe, the Almighty – is also an Author. David had a revelation about this when he was captured by the Philistines.
Some years prior, he had completely humiliated them when he decapitated their hero, Goliath. Despite facing certain retribution, Psalm 56 tells us David beamed with confidence: “This I know: God is on my side!” Psalm 56:9
He further declared, “You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in your bottle. You have recorded each one in your book” Psalm 56:8 (New Living Translation)
He realised this great and awesome God was intimately acquainted with him. Because he feared the Lord, a book citing his deeds was being written about him by the Hand of God.
Psalm 139 states David understood that the Lord even witnessed the times when he sat down, and when he stood up again. The details of his life, from the moment the Father had formed and fashioned him in his mother’s womb until he breathed his last breath, were being ‘recorded in Your book’ Psalm 139:16
We might think it reasonable that God would write David’s story. After all, he was exceptional – a leader who strides the stage of world history, a standout in so many ways. But would He really take an interest in someone like me? Is my story worth telling? Does God really care about the things I say and do, and the things I go through?
Did you ever notice something seems a bit out of place about Jesus’ genealogy? Historically and culturally-speaking, genealogies typically follow the fathers’ ancestral line. But Matthew strangely includes the names of four women in Matthew 1:3-6.
This is not random. It reveals the heart of God. Though each of these women had strikingly embarrassing flaws (one committed incest, one adultery, and another was a prostitute!), God remembers them.
A whole chapter in Genesis is devoted to Tamar. Rahab’s story occupies parts of Joshua 2 and 6, and she’s heralded as an example of faith in both James and Hebrews.
Solomon was so impacted by his mom, Bathsheba, that he praises her in more than 20 verses in Proverbs – his way of honouring her contribution to him becoming one of the wisest men to have ever lived.
And then there’s Ruth. Why is she so special? She was a Moabitess, raised in idolatry, and a widow. Yet, when presented with the opportunity to return home to her people, to the prospect of marriage and comfort, unlike her older sister-in-law, Orpah, Ruth chose to cling to her mother-in-law Naomi, and to Naomi’s God.
When she did, the Lord took notice and listened, and a book of remembrance was written about Ruth. Her actions proved that she had high regard for His name, so God recorded her story in detail, and He rewarded her. Not only did she become the great-grandmother of King David, her legacy includes being in the ancestry of Jesus, the Son of God.
While it’d be impossible to honour every person in Israel’s history who excelled in the fear of the Lord with his or her own book in the Bible, the Book of Ruth forever stands as a clear reminder to us that Malachi’s words are true.
It’s not just the David’s of history that are enshrined in His scrolls. If we hold Him in the highest regard – if we adore, esteem, pursue, and cling to Him – He’s watching and listening.
And if we could see beyond the veil and into His courts, we might even see Him, eyes a-twinkle at His desk with quill in hand, proudly composing another chapter in the book that bears your name.
PS. In a few week’s time, the Graves family will be folding up our Singapore tent and returning to the United States after serving the Lord for the past 39 years in Asia.
Among the most joyous ‘chapters’ in my book so far are the years we’ve spent with you all in Cornerstone. As the page is turned and a new chapter begins for us, we pray that your unfolding story will be from strength to strength, and glory to glory. Amen.