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Summary: The Scripture text mentions a group of people that God took special notice of, and then tells what they were doing that caused God to look upon them so favorably.

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Introduction: I am going to speak on the subject," Getting God's Gracious

Attention." My text is found in the book of Malachi, the third chapter, verses

sixteen and seventeen.

I am going to show you how to live a life that find's favor with God. The kind of

life that makes God proud of you! We, as parents, love all of our children, but

they may not all live a life we can be proud of. I think God was beaming with

pride, when he said; "Have you seen my servant Job, that there is none like him

in all the earth?" (Job 1:8). Is God proud of you? Would you like to be the object

of His special attention? Would you like knowing that you are, "the apple of God's

eye"?

Let's examine what these people were doing, that made them so special to God.

I. THEY FEARED GOD. (Vs. 16)

Please listen carefully while I share some background information concerning

our text. Malachi lived after the time of Ezra and Nehemiah. At this time, the

Jew's had returned from Babylon, the Temple had been rebuilt. The walls around

Jerusalem were complete. All was well, except for the sad fact that the people

had, once again, drifted into a backslidden spiritual condition. The priest's were

living sinfully as well. Jewish men were divorcing their Jewish wives and

marring heathen women. Many were worshiping idols and engaging in sexual

orgies associated with the worship ceremonies. Although, the Law of God was,

again, being ignored, and ungodliness, worldliness, and brazen sin were on

every side; there was a remnant who maintained their integrity and their zeal

to serve the Holy God. No wonder God took special notice of them!

So, what was this select group of people doing that attracted God's gracious

attention? First of all, our text states that they feared God. The word 'fear', as

is in the text, mean's 'reverence.' It is impossible to properly reverence God

without respecting His Word. These people honored and heeded God's Word.

Scripture tells us that, "In the beginning was the Word and the Word became

flesh, dwelt among men, and that Word, was God." (John 1) So it is clear that

it is impossible to reverence God and pay little regard to His Word.

These people were demonstrating their reverence to God by being obedient

to His Word(Law). In Malachi's time the priest's were offering sacrifices that

were not acceptable to God. It was a direct violation of His Law. The people

were bringing the blemished and puny animals from their herd as sacrifices.

They were unwilling to offer God their best. God's Law stated that the people

were to offer their very best. This bunch did not fear God. Their worship was

insincere. They had reduced the worship of God to cold, form and ritual. This

group was only 'going through the motions'.

Many professing Christian's belong to this group. They never give to God, their

best. Their experience with God is not vibrant. They have plenty of religion, but

God has none of them! We will never become the object of God's gracious

attention until we give Him our best. Jesus illustrated this point very clearly when

He said to the Rich Young Ruler, "One thing you are lacking.." Jesus wanted

all of him, not just part of him. Jesus had many followers, but only three of them

received His special attention.

Can you truthfully say, "I give God my best." Now that's a mouth full! Does God get

your best when it comes to your prayer life? What about your finances? How

about your service? If you are a teacher in the church, are you the best you could

be? Whatever our service to God, If we truly reverence Him, we will give to Him,

'The Best', and nothing less.

This small group of God loving, God fearing people, gave Him their very best.

And God smiled upon them. God heard and answered their prayers, and blessed

their lives. When we give our best to God we will get God's gracious attention.

( ILL) C. H. Spurgeon once said something very close to this:

"I want to live so that every time I look up to God and say; "I love you."

He will look down at me and say; "I know it Spurgeon, I know it."

II. THEY THOUGHT UPON HIS NAME ( v. 16 )

In other words, they meditated upon the Lord. God was constantly in their

thoughts, and this brought comfort to their souls and peace to their minds.

Although they lived in troublesome times, their generation was exceedingly

wicked, and godly people were a minority. They kept their minds focused God-

ward. I believe they meditated continually upon God's precious promises.

1. God's promise to bless them.

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