KEEP YOUR EYE ON THE FINISH LINE!

MALACHI 3:13-18: “Your words against me are harsh,” says the Lord. Yet you ask, “What have we spoken against you?” You have said: “It is useless to serve God. What have we gained by keeping his requirements and walking mournfully before the Lord of Armies? So now we consider the arrogant to be fortunate. Not only do those who commit wickedness prosper, they even test God and escape.” At that time 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. “They will be mine,” says the Lord of Armies, “my own possession on the day I am preparing. I will have compassion on them as a man has compassion on his son who serves him. So you will again see the difference between the righteous and the wicked, between one who serves God and one who does not serve him.” CSB

OBSERVATION: Have you ever wondered if serving the Lord is worth it? You look at the world and it appears that the evil prosper while the good suffer. Discouragement is quick to come to the door of your heart during these times of questioning. Like the boxer who seems to be losing the fight, you contemplate throwing in the towel.

In all of this – is God really paying attention?

Malachi is a book written to the remnant of Israel who had returned to Jerusalem from the Babylonian captivity, rebuilt the Temple, and once again begun settling in God’s promised land. Yet, it did not take long for them to forget the lessons they learned during their captivity. Soon, many began returning to their old ways. Their hearts were not right toward God, their worship, and their families. When God began to deal with His people in discipline they questioned their entire relationship with Him.

  • “…You have said: “It is useless to serve God. What have we gained by keeping his requirements and walking mournfully before the Lord of Armies? So now we consider the arrogant to be fortunate. Not only do those who commit wickedness prosper, they even test God and escape.”

When we turn from the loving discipline of the Lord our perspective gets blurred. Instead of repenting they began to question God. And, then, like so many of us do, they began to compare themselves to others. Their conclusion was – “It’s useless to serve God.”

Yet, this was not the attitude of everyone. While the majority grumbled and complained, there was a remnant who remained faithful. This was the remnant who received God’s correction and stayed true to God’s Word. And, in this remnant we learn a beautiful truth. God is always attentive to their hearts and their prayers!

  • “At that time 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.”

The Scriptures are replete with the promise that our Heavenly Father hears and attends to the prayers of the righteous. As the Lord looked down upon Israel, in the tumult of all the grumbling and complaining, He heard those who feared the Lord. He took notice and listened. And their names, their concerns, and their acts of obedience were written in a book of remembrance before the Lord. In all of our life, in all of our struggles, God is always listening and taking notice or our love and obedience.

And, there is a reward promised for those who remain faithful!

  • “They will be mine,” says the Lord of Armies, “my own possession on the day I am preparing. I will have compassion on them as a man has compassion on his son who serves him. So you will again see the difference between the righteous and the wicked, between one who serves God and one who does not serve him.”

There is a day of judgment coming upon the entire world. Yet, in that day the Lord will have compassion on those who have remained faithful. Whatever inequity may appear in this life will be washed away at the day of judgment.

For the church, those who have placed their faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, there is the hope of the rapture into His eternal presence, and the Marriage Supper of the Lamb, before the Great and Awesome Day of the Lord. For those who come to Christ during the Great Tribulation there will be the reward of heaven and receiving His robe of righteousness. And, for the restored nation of Israel there will be the promise of the Millennial reign of the Messiah as He restores all the promises and covenant to His people.

We always need to keep our eye on the finish line! It does pay to serve the Lord. He never forgets our sacrifice and obedience. The glory that is to be received can never compare to the momentary suffering we may endure for a season in this life!

  • “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is going to be revealed to us.” Romans 8:18 CSB

And, as we keep our eye on the finish line, we hold the promise of His remembrance and the promise of His love as an anchor through the turbulent storms of life!

  • “No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:37-39 CSB

Lord, thank you for the promise of Your remembrance and faithfulness. As I look to the finish line – give me grace to walk in love and obedience.

In Jesus Name!

About Kirk's Devotional Journal

Kirk L. Zehnder is the Founder of Resurrection Christian Outreach. RCO is a ministry that promotes the growth and vitality of the local church through speaking engagements, seminars, various media tools, and written curriculum and books. This ministry was started over 35 years ago by Kirk as a means to strengthen the church that he was pastoring. It grew as Kirk began to share these tools with other churches. Today many of the materials are being used by local churches both nationally and internationally. Kirk's Devotional Journal is a result of struggling with Bible reading programs that never seemed to work. Kirk feels the Lord helped him discover an easy to follow program to Read, Reflect, Pray, and Journal through the Bible in one year. This program is called L.I.F.E. Unlike other programs there are no dates to follow. You can miss a day and still complete your reading. You never feel like the dates and verses you missed are chasing you. You are free to enjoy your daily Biblical journey and listen to the voice of The Lord. For more information on the L.I.F.E. plan, send an email to rcoutreach@aol.com. Kirk is also available for speaking engagements, seminars, and retreats. With over 40 years of professional business and pastoral ministry experience, Kirk brings a unique combination of practical wisdom, humor, and Biblical insight. If you would like Kirk to speak at your church, school, or ministry, please send an email to rcoutreach@aol.com and we will get back to you as soon as possible to discuss your opportunity.
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