SDA Bible Commentary, vol. 4 (EGW)

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Chapter 3

1-3. Truth a Continual Test—[Malachi 3:1-3 quoted.] Everything in our character that cannot enter the city of God will be reproved; if we submit to the Lord's refining, all the dross and the tin will be consumed. As the Lord's chosen ones will receive the light appropriate for this time, they will not be led to exalt themselves. They will not manufacture a standard whereby to measure their own character; for the Lord has given one standard, by which every character is to be tested. There is not one standard for the poor, and another for the rich; for all will be tested by that law which bids us to love God supremely and our neighbor as ourselves. Those who win the treasure of heaven will be those who have laid up their treasure above. God gives us light and opportunities to learn from Christ; that we may be like Him in spirit and character; but we are not to conform to any human standard. We are to receive the truth of God into the heart, that it may regulate the life and form the character. 4BC 1181.4

The Lord is looking upon men in the different spheres in which they move, and the character is tested under the different circumstances in which they are placed. The truth, pure, refined, elevating, is a continual test, to measure the man. If truth controls the conscience and is an abiding principle in the heart, it becomes an active working agent, it works by love and purifies the soul. But if the knowledge of the truth produces no beauty in the soul, if it does not subdue, soften, and recreate the man after God's own image, it is of no benefit to the receiver; it is as sounding brass and a tinkling cymbal. The truth as it is in Jesus, planted in the heart by the Holy Spirit, always works from within outward; it will be revealed in our words and spirit and actions toward everyone with whom we are connected (Letter 20a, 1893). 4BC 1181.5

3, 4. A Refining Process—[Malachi 3:3, 4 quoted.] In this scripture is portrayed a refining, purifying process, to be carried on in the hearts of men by the Lord of hosts. The process is most trying to the soul, but it is only by this means that the dross can be removed. Of necessity we must endure trials; for through these we are brought close to our heavenly Father, in obedience to His will, that we may render to Him an offering in righteousness.... 4BC 1181.6

The Master sees wherein we need to be purified for His heavenly kingdom. He will not leave us in the furnace until we are wholly consumed. As a refiner and purifier of silver, He is beholding His children, watching the process of purification, until He shall discern His image reflected in us. Although we often feel affliction's flame kindling about us, and at times fear that we shall be utterly consumed, yet the loving-kindness of God is just as great toward us at these times as when we are free in spirit and triumphing in Him. The furnace is to purify and refine, but not to consume and destroy. God in His providence would try us, to purify us as the sons of Levi, that we may offer to Him an offering in righteousness (The Southern Watchman, February 7, 1905). 4BC 1182.1

Every Test Necessary, Seldom Repeated—[Malachi 3:3, 4 quoted.] Here is the process, the refining, purifying process, to be carried on by the Lord of hosts. The work is most trying to the soul, but it is only through this process that the rubbish and defiling impurities can be removed. Our trials are all necessary to bring us close to our heavenly Father, in obedience to His will, that we may offer to the Lord an offering in righteousness. God has given each of us capabilities, talents to improve. We need a new and living experience in the divine life, in order to do the will of God. No amount of past experience will suffice for the present, or will strengthen us to overcome the difficulties in our path. We must have new grace and fresh strength daily in order to be victorious. 4BC 1182.2

We are seldom, in all respects, placed in the same condition twice. Abraham, Moses, Elijah, Daniel, and many others, were all sorely tried, but not in the same way. Every one has his individual tests and trials in the drama of life, but the very same trial seldom comes twice. Each has his own experience, peculiar in its character and circumstances, to accomplish a certain work. God has a work, a purpose, in the life of each and all of us. Every act, however small, has its place in our life experience. We must have the continual light and experience that come from God. We all need them, and God is more than willing we should have them, if we will take them (The Review and Herald, June 22, 1886). 4BC 1182.3

5-17. A View of Two Groups—In the third chapter of Malachi two parties are brought to view. Here the Lord denounces against His professed people who are not faithful sentinels. The charge and challenge of God against this people is marked and decided [Malachi 3:5-12 quoted.] Man's duty to be faithful in giving the Lord the portion which He claims in tithes and offerings, that there may be a supply to carry forward the work without embarrassment or hindrance is plainly specified. 4BC 1182.4

A people is brought to view who are not filled with the Holy Spirit, because they have not walked humbly with God and been faithful and clean and pure and holy in His sight. God says, “Your words have been stout against me.... Yet ye say, What have we spoken so much against thee? Ye have said, It is vain to serve God: and what profit is it that we accept his ordinance, and that we have walked mournfully before the Lord of hosts? And now we call the proud happy; ... yea, they that tempt God are even delivered.” 4BC 1182.5

Who required them to walk mournfully? Not Christ. Their mournfulness is the fruit of their own will and unsanctified spirit. They complain of one another and of God, putting on an outside show as disappointed men, leaving the impression on the world that it does not pay to be Christians. To be envious and jealous of the brethren means to be envious and jealous of God (Manuscript 15, 1899). 4BC 1182.6

8. Robbery of Service—Those who refuse to place themselves on the Lord's side are robbing Him of the service He claims. What rent are they paying Him for living in His house, this world? They act as though they had created the world, as though they had a right to use what they possess as they please. God marks their misuse of His talents (Manuscript 50, 1901). 4BC 1182.7

10, 11. A Message Still Binding—Duty is duty, and should be performed for its own sake. But the Lord has compassion upon us in our fallen condition, and accompanies His commands with promises. He calls upon His people to prove Him, declaring that He will reward obedience with the richest blessings [Malachi 3:10, 11 quoted] (The Southern Watchman, February 14, 1905). 4BC 1182.8

11. God Can Scatter Means—Those who are selfishly withholding their means need not be surprised if God's hand scatters their possessions. That which should have been devoted to the advancement of His work and cause, but which has been withheld, may in various ways be taken away. God will come near to them in judgments. Many losses will be sustained. God can scatter the means He has lent to His stewards, if they refuse to use it to His glory. Some may have none of these losses to remind them of their remissness in duty, but their cases may be the more hopeless (The Southern Watchman, February 21, 1905). 4BC 1183.1

13-16. One Person Not to Do All the Witnessing—The fact that the Lord has been represented as hearkening to the words spoken by His witnesses, tells us that Jesus is in our very midst. He says, “Where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst.” One person is not to do all the witnessing for Jesus; but everyone who loves God is to testify of the preciousness of His grace and truth. Those who receive the light of truth are to have lesson upon lesson to educate them not to keep silent, but to speak often one to another. They are to keep in mind the Sabbath meeting, when those who love and fear God, and who think upon His name, can have opportunity to express their thoughts in speaking one to another.... 4BC 1183.2

Let each one seek to become an intelligent Christian, bearing his responsibility, and acting his personal part to make the meeting interesting and profitable.... 4BC 1183.3

The Majesty of heaven identifies His interests with those of the believers, however humble may be their circumstances. And wherever they are privileged to meet together, it is appropriate that they speak often one to another, giving utterance to the gratitude and love that is a result of thinking upon the name of the Lord. Thus shall God be glorified as He hearkens and hears, and the testimony meeting will be considered the most precious of all meetings; for the words spoken are recorded in the book of remembrance (Manuscript 32, 1894). 4BC 1183.4

16. Memory Constantly Refreshed—Every deliverance, every blessing, that God in the past has granted to His people, should be kept fresh in memory's hall as a sure pledge of further and richer, increasing blessings that He will bestow. The Lord's blessings are adapted to the needs of His people (Manuscript 65, 1912). 4BC 1183.5

Represent Bright Side of Religion—Do not gratify the enemy by dwelling upon the dark side of your experience; trust Jesus more fully for help to resist temptation. If we thought and talked more of Jesus, and less of ourselves, we should have much more of His presence. If we abide in Him, we shall be so filled with peace, faith, and courage, and shall have so victorious an experience to relate when we come to meeting, that others will be refreshed by our clear, strong testimony for God. These precious acknowledgements to the praise of the glory of His grace, when supported by a Christlike life, have an irresistible power, which works for the salvation of souls. 4BC 1183.6

The bright and cheerful side of religion will be represented by all who are daily consecrated to God. We should not dishonor our Lord by a mournful relation of trials that appear grievous. All trials that are received as educators will produce joy. The whole religious life will be uplifting, elevating, ennobling, fragrant with good words and works. The enemy is well pleased to have souls depressed, downcast; he desires unbelievers to gain wrong impressions regarding the effect of our faith. But God desires the mind to take a higher level. He desires every soul to triumph in the keeping power of the Redeemer (The Southern Watchman, March 7, 1905). 4BC 1183.7

(Hebrews 10:25.) Reflecting Rays of Light—[Malachi 3:16 quoted.] To the Christian is granted the joy of gathering rays of eternal light from the throne of glory, and of reflecting these rays not only on his own path, but on the paths of those with whom he associates. By speaking words of hope and encouragement, of grateful praise and kindly cheer, he may strive to make those around him better, to elevate them, to point them to heaven and glory, and to lead them to seek, above all earthly things, the eternal substance, the immortal inheritance, the riches that are imperishable (The Southern Watchman, March 7, 1905). 4BC 1183.8

16, 17. Promises to Be Verified—The closing words of this scripture outline the experience that the people of God are yet to have. We have a wonderful future before us as a people. The promises of the third chapter of Malachi will be verified to the letter (Letter 223, 1904). 4BC 1184.1

Angels Await Prayers—Seek most earnestly for a deeper experience and piety, and learn to walk circumspectly. [Malachi 3:16, 17 quoted.] God does not leave His erring children who are weak in faith, and who make many mistakes. The Lord hearkens and hears their prayer and their testimony. Those who look unto Jesus day by day and hour by hour, who watch unto prayer, are drawing nigh to Jesus. Angels with wings outspread wait to bear their contrite prayers to God, and to register them in the books of heaven (Letter 90, 1895). 4BC 1184.2

17. All Luster Is Reflected Light—All the luster possessed by those who have gained the richest experience is but the reflection of the light of the Sun of righteousness. He who lives nearest to Jesus shines the brightest. And let us thank God that the Master has His hidden ones, who are not recognized by the world, but whose names are written in the Lamb's book of life. The luster of the tiniest gem in God's casket will glorify Him. There are many ... who during this life do not seem to be particularly honored. But the Lord sees those who serve Him [Malachi 3:17 quoted] (Letter 94, 1903). 4BC 1184.3

Jewels Everywhere—God has jewels in all the churches, and it is not for us to make sweeping denunciation of the professed religious world, but in humility and love, present to all the truth as it is in Jesus. Let men see piety and devotion, let them behold Christlikeness of character, and they will be drawn to the truth. He who loves God supremely and his neighbor as himself, will be a light in the world. Those who have a knowledge of the truth are to communicate the same. They are to lift up Jesus, the world's Redeemer; they are to hold forth the Word of life (The Review and Herald, January 17, 1893). 4BC 1184.4