“Then those who feared the Lord talked with each other,
and the Lord listened and heard.
A scroll of remembrance was written in his presence
concerning those who feared the Lord and honored his name.”
Malachi 3:16 (NIV)
When the Bible speaks about “the fear of the Lord” we all recognize that the term “fear” does not mean firstly to be afraid, or terrified of God. Fear in the biblical sense is more the notion of respect or honor.
The fear of the Lord is that attitude of heart and mind that recognizes the glory and majesty of God and responds with appropriate humility and subjection.
In passages like Isaiah 6, Mark 4:41, Luke 5:26; Revelation 1:17, we see how the vision of the Lord or the demonstration of His power brought the appropriate reaction of fear from those who witnessed the event. So in some sense we should have a “healthy fear” of God.
In our verse for today we see that the terms “feared” and “honored” are synonyms—that is, they mean the same thing. Everyone ought to honor God by seeking to do His will, by worshipping Him, and serving Him with all of their being.
The wonderful truth spoken of in our verse is that God takes notice of those who honor Him. The wording is especially beautiful as it says that God has a book of remembrance, where the names of those who “feared” Him are recorded.
Most of us have never thought about a library being part of the furniture of heaven but apparently we are to believe that at least some books or scrolls are preserved there and one of them is a book of names.
How encouraging it is to know that our names are written down by a heavenly secretary at the command of God. In various Scriptures we read about a book of life, and Scripture teaches that only those whose names are written in it have eternal life (see Exodus 32:32-33; Revelation 20:12, 15).
The Christian’s great assurance is that their names are written in that book, and a day is coming in which the book will be opened and God shall read out all the names recorded there and invite those people to come and celebrate the great feast and enjoy the glories of heaven forever.
My sincere prayer is that all of my readers have their name recorded in that great book and honor and fear the Lord daily—even in those painful times when God seems distant and hard to contact.