You have spoken harsh words against me, says the Lord. Yet you say, “How have we spoken against you?” You have said, “It is vain to serve God. What do we profit by keeping his command or by going about as mourners before the Lord of hosts? Now we count the arrogant happy; evildoers not only prosper, but when they put God to the test they escape.”
Then those who revered the Lord spoke with one another. The Lord took note and listened, and a book of remembrance was written before him of those who revered the Lord and thought on his name. They shall be mine, says the Lord of hosts, my special possession on the day when I act, and I will spare them as parents spare their children who serve them. Then once more you shall see the difference between the righteous and the wicked, between one who serves God and one who does not serve him.
What Does it Profit?
Have you ever thought to yourself that it may pay to be bad? It sometimes seems like people who have little regard for the rules and have disrespect for others come out on top. In our scripture today, we see that the people had these thoughts and came to the conclusion that it was “vain to serve God.” They were mistaking what it meant to be blessed. They saw evildoers prospering and failed to understand that success is not wealth, fame, or power but intimacy with the Lord.
God took notice of the faithful and in an amazing display of grace, accepted those who turned back to him. He showed them mercy—the mercy a good parent shows his children. God’s treatment of these forgiven people, as special possessions, is shown completely when he sent his own Son, Jesus, to be the perfect sacrifice to bring them close to him.
We must struggle against the desire to place our trust in material blessings rather than in Jesus Christ. During this advent season, ask the Lord to bring you close that you may know his grace and mercy in powerful ways.