Malachi 1:6-8 “A son honoreth his father, and a servant his master: if then I be a Father, where is mine honor? And if I be a master, where is my fear?….”
Ye offer polluted bread upon mine altar; and ye say, Wherein have we polluted Thee? In that ye say, The table of the Lord is contemptible.
And ye offer the blind for sacrifice, is it not evil? And if ye offer the lame and sick, is it not evil? Offer it now unto thy governor; will he be pleased with thee, or accept thy person saith the Lord of hosts.”
Malachi means “My messenger”.
The prophets were God’s helpers to the godly rulers and people…..who gave the message from the Lord…showing them their sins….
….so that the people would be awakened to God’s thoughts about their attitude.
The sacrifices pointed to Christ….and their faith in Him.
Their contempt of the sacrifices….was a contempt of God, as their KIng.
When Malachi was written (he was a contemporary of Ezra and Nehemiah which was about 500 years before Christ’s birth)…
….their actions were at a low point….their obedience to the sacrifices and the Temple were partial,….and with deceit to themselves and dishonor to God.
They had returned from captivity…with a willingness to re-build the Temple. Though they had been hindered and stopped….the work began again….and now the Temple had been re-built….and the walls of Jerusalem was almost done.
They had an ally in the court of Persia….and instead of this increasing their faithfulness…..
….things just got sloppy.
Their diligence waned….their devotion cooled….they became a nation of “just getting by”….
…and the worst of all, was that the priests were leading in this regard.
They should have been most working for the Lord,….but instead, were great with excuses….but not with faithful obedience.
Malachi 1:12-13 “But ye have profaned it, in that ye say, The table of the Lord is polluted; and the fruit thereof, even His meat, is contemptible.
Ye said also, Behold, what a weariness is it! And ye have snuffed at it, saith the Lord of hosts;…”
The people were selfish….becoming proud of themselves.
They did not want to give their animals to sacrifice which were healthy and could be used by them….
…and they would not just stop going to the Temple with sacrifices.
So…..they gave the sick, or lame, or damaged animals….thinking they “deceived” God….but He was not fooled or unseeing.
Malachi 1:14 “But cursed be the deceiver, which hath in his flock a male, and voweth and sacrificeth unto the Lord a corrupt thing: for I am a great King, saith the Lord of hosts, and My Name is dreadful among the heathen.”
How sad that the great lesson of the authority of God over all the earth…
(in their captivity…how God showed them His power by destroying and making even their enemies to be their benefactors)….
…had not continued to awe and impress them, during the time of prosperity.
But is it not the same with us?
Have we seen so clearly HIs mercy to us…..and then, forgotten it….or at least placed it in the back of our memories when we have friends and things are going well?
Are we offering “polluted bread” or the blind or the lame and sick for sacrifice in our ministries?
Are we being double minded in our efforts….
…..or are we going ahead with plans we made without the guidance of the Holy Spirit…
…..or are we grudgingly doing what we have to, without joy or love?
These are times of great division…..no, I do not just mean in opinions.
We are spirit, soul, and body….made in the image of God.
And the Adversary would bring us down to “feelings”, “emotional responses”….and worldly, carnal “reasons”.
But as Christians we are to always “to be led by the Spirit of God..” (Romans 8:14).
Jesus Christ said that when the Spirit would come…He would guide us into all truth (John 16:13)….”guide” here is to “show the way, lead”.
The Spirit will lead us into honoring the Lord in all our ways. “He shall glorify Me: for He shall receive of mine,and shall shew it unto you.” (John 16:14)
We, too, are to offer sacrifices….of praise and obedience.
Hebrews 13:15-16 “By Him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is the fruit of our lips giving thanks to His Name.
But to do good and to communicate forget not: for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.”
The heart of religion…is the practical part. The Lord wants our praise (certainly He deserves it)…
….but praise is to be with….”to do good and to communicate”. We are to be righteous…which is simply walking in obedience…and witness of Christ….both in actions and words.
Hebrews 13:5 “Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have; for He hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.”
In the Bible (KJV)…”conversation” means what we do, our actions and the general tenor of our lives,….as well as what we say.
We are to live without coveting….wishing for and wanting what another has.
This can only be as we are “content with such things as ye have”.
Contentment is an amazing grace…..yes, I said grace. It is a lesson learned like patience….but acquired by the grace of the Holy Spirit within.
We learn: “that in whatsoever state I am….therewith to be content” (Phil. 4:11)….or at peace….and in joy.
And this is only…..as we realize the value of Christ to us….”for He hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.”
Far more valuable and precious than anything this world can offer.
This is a message for the days and years to come….for the trials and persecutions….for the prosperity and times of applause….
….Christ is our all in all.
It is not that we believe this…..we know this….for He has been there for me….through all.
…for He has spoken to me in all times.
…for He has strengthened my hands to do the right thing (even when I did not want to)….strengthened my mind to see the truth….strengthened my heart to love Him…and my fellow Christians.
…for He has given me His help.
This Israel gave up….to follow selfishness and deceiving practices.
We have Christ….and He demands faith and obedience….to His praise and glory.
What will we do with Him?