"He shall build the temple of the Lord; and he shall bear the glory."
Christ himself is the builder of his spiritual temple, and he has built it on the mountains of his unchangeable affection, his omnipotent grace, and his infallible truthfulness. But as it was in Solomon's temple, so in this; the materials need making ready. There are the "Cedars of Lebanon," but they are not framed for the building; they are not cut down, and shaped, and made into those planks of cedar, whose odoriferous beauty shall make glad the courts of the Lord's house in Paradise. There are also the rough stones still in the quarry, they must be hewn thence, and squared. All this is Christ's own work. Each individual believer is being prepared, and polished, and made ready for his place in the temple; but Christ's own hand performs the preparation-work. Afflictions cannot sanctify, excepting as they are used by him to this end. Our prayers and efforts cannot make us ready for heaven, apart from the hand of Jesus, who fashioneth our hearts aright.
As in the building of Solomon's temple, "there was neither hammer, nor axe, nor any tool of iron, heard in the house," because all was brought perfectly ready for the exact spot it was to occupy--so is it with the temple which Jesus builds; the making ready is all done on earth. When we reach heaven, there will be no sanctifying us there, no squaring us with affliction, no planing us with suffering. No, we must be made meet here--all that Christ will do beforehand; and when he has done it, we shall be ferried by a loving hand across the stream of death, and brought to the heavenly Jerusalem, to abide as eternal pillars in the temple of our Lord.
"Beneath his eye and care,
The edifice shall rise,
Majestic, strong, and fair,
And shine above the skies."
"That those things which cannot be shaken may remain."
We have many things in our possession at the present moment which can be shaken, and it ill becomes a Christian man to set much store by them, for there is nothing stable beneath these rolling skies; change is written upon all things. Yet, we have certain "things which cannot be shaken," and I invite you this evening to think of them, that if the things which can be shaken should all be taken away, you may derive real comfort from the things that cannot be shaken, which will remain. Whatever your losses have been, or may be, you enjoy present salvation. You are standing at the foot of his cross, trusting alone in the merit of Jesus' precious blood, and no rise or fall of the markets can interfere with your salvation in him; no breaking of banks, no failures and bankruptcies can touch that. Then you are a child of God this evening. God is your Father. No change of circumstances can ever rob you of that. Although by losses brought to poverty, and stripped bare, you can say, "He is my Father still. In my Father's house are many mansions; therefore will I not be troubled." You have another permanent blessing, namely, the love of Jesus Christ. He who is God and Man loves you with all the strength of his affectionate nature--nothing can affect that. The fig tree may not blossom, and the flocks may cease from the field, it matters not to the man who can sing, "My Beloved is mine, and I am his." Our best portion and richest heritage we cannot lose. Whatever troubles come, let us play the man; let us show that we are not such little children as to be cast down by what may happen in this poor fleeting state of time. Our country is Immanuel's land, our hope is above the sky, and therefore, calm as the summer's ocean; we will see the wreck of everything earthborn, and yet rejoice in the God of our salvation.
[Măl'achī] - messenger of jehovah ormy messenger.
1. The last of the Old Testament prophets, and author of the last book of The Minor Prophets.
The Man Who Believed in God's Electing Love
Nothing is known of Malachi save what his prophecy tells us. Ancient writers looked upon him as an angel incarnate, while a great number of Jews believed him to be Ezra the Scribe. It would seem as if he was connected with Nehemiah's work. Perhaps he prepared the way for it, helped in it and followed it up. Compare Malachi 1:8 withNehemiah 5:15, 18, where it seems clear that he prophesied either during Nehemiah's absence in Persia (Neh. 13:6) or after Nehemiah assumed governorship. As the last of the prophets, he was the seal of all the goodly fellowship of prophets.
While Malachi's prominent message was the rebuke of the remnant and the announcement of future purging and blessing, the keynote of his book appears to be the unchangeableness of God, and His unceasing love ( Mal. 1:2; 3:6). The tone of his message is expostulation blended with judgment. Yet gracious promises and assurances are interspersed like pearls gleaming against a dark background.
Features to note are the whereins repeated by Malachi's hearers. Against such the prophet amplifies and enforces his original charge (Mal. 1:2, 6, 7; 2:17; 3:7-9). We have:
I. The charge made against God involving an utter disregard of Him (Mal. 1:1, 2).
II. The rejection of the worship of God ( Mal. 1:6-14).
III. The intense oration of His law (Mal. 2:1-9).
IV. Social wrongs and disorder in the home (Mal. 2:10, 16).
V. The blatant perversion of judgment (Mal. 2:17).
VI. Gross immorality and degradation (Mal. 3:5).
VII. Robbery in the service of the Temple ( Mal. 3:7-9).
Other features to develop are:
Priestly qualifications - holiness, communion with God, usefulness and knowledge (Mal. 2:6, 7).
An ideal picture of the true gospel ministry (Mal. 2:5, 6).
The Lord's care for and interest in His people (Mal. 3:16, 18).
Today's reading: Esther 6-8, Acts 6 (NIV)View today's reading on Bible Gateway
Today's Old Testament reading: Esther 6-8
1 That night the king could not sleep; so he ordered the book of the chronicles, the record of his reign, to be brought in and read to him. 2 It was found recorded there that Mordecai had exposed Bigthana and Teresh, two of the king's officers who guarded the doorway, who had conspired to assassinate King Xerxes.
3 "What honor and recognition has Mordecai received for this?" the king asked.
"Nothing has been done for him," his attendants answered.
4 The king said, "Who is in the court?" Now Haman had just entered the outer court of the palace to speak to the king about impaling Mordecai on the pole he had set up for him....
Today's New Testament reading: Acts 6
The Choosing of the Seven
1 In those days when the number of disciples was increasing, the Hellenistic Jews among them complained against the Hebraic Jews because their widows were being overlooked in the daily distribution of food. 2 So the Twelve gathered all the disciples together and said, "It would not be right for us to neglect the ministry of the word of God in order to wait on tables. 3 Brothers and sisters, choose seven men from among you who are known to be full of the Spirit and wisdom. We will turn this responsibility over to them 4 and will give our attention to prayer and the ministry of the word."