DOES Jehovah notice the efforts of his worshippers to please him? Yes, he does! But he observes more than their godly deeds and words of praise. He takes note even when they think appreciatively about him. What is more, Jehovah will never forget his people and what they have done. How can we be sure? The answer is found in words recorded by the prophet Malachi.
In the fifth century B.C.E., when Malachi prophesied, moral and religious conditions in Israel were appalling. The priests neglected their duties, and the people in general took up such God-dishonoring practices as sorcery, adultery, and fraud. (Malachi 2:8; 3:5) In the midst of such corruption, however, there was a core of Israelites who remained loyal. What were they doing?
“Those in fear of Jehovah spoke with one another,” explains Malachi. Fear of God is a positive quality. Malachi here describes Israelites who had a profound respect for God coupled with a healthy dread of displeasing him. Note that those God-fearing individuals “spoke with one another.” Evidently they got together to speak well of Jehovah and encourage one another, lest they become disheartened or tainted by the corruption around them.
The faithful Israelites showed their reverence for Jehovah in another meaningful way: They were “thinking upon his name.” Another translation says “esteeming His name.” Those God-fearing ones honored Jehovah even in their thoughts. In the privacy of their heart, they thought appreciatively, or meditated, on Jehovah and his great name. Was Jehovah aware of what they were doing?
Malachi says: “Jehovah kept paying attention and listening.” From his lofty abode in heaven, Jehovah, in effect, inclined his ear and heard every word of praise that his worshippers spoke to one another. He also paid attention to all their private meditations. (Psalm 94:11) But he did more than just pay attention to their good words and thoughts.
“A book of remembrance began to be written up before him,” notes Malachi. That book is a record of all those who have served Jehovah in integrity. Notice that it is called “a book of remembrance.” * That tells us that Jehovah will never forget his faithful worshippers and all that they have done to praise him
How comforting it is to know that Jehovah values all that we do to worship him acceptably! The words at Malachi 3:16 give us cause for sober reflection. We do well to ask, ‘Is my name in God’s “book of remembrance”?’ It will be if we do our best to act, speak, and think each day in ways that Jehovah will want to remember.
^ par. 8 The Hebrew word for “remembrance” means more than just calling something to mind. It can also imply doing something about what is remembered.
^ par. 8 For more information about God’s promise of eternal life, see chapter 3 of the book What Does the Bible Really Teach? published by Jehovah’s Witnesses.