During the time of Malachi the Jews had been home from exile in Babylon for about one hundred years. The exile had cured them of their idolatry but they were prone to neglect the house of God, the priest were lax and degenerate, sacrifices were inferior, and the tithes were neglected. They had back-slidden and were intermarrying with their idolatrous neighbors. They were awaiting the coming of the Messiah but had settled into a lethargic spiritual state. Malachi assured them that the Messiah would come, but it would mean judgment for them because of the spiritual state that they had fallen into. The main message of Malachi is that because of their sin, their relationship with God had been broken and that sin would bring judgement. But those who did repent would receive God’s blessings. This is an important message is as relevant today as it was then, hypocrisy, neglecting God, and careless living has the same devastating consequences now and it did then. We must make serving and worshiping God the primary focus in out lives, now and in eternity. When Malachi began confronting the people with their sin, they asked him a series of questions:
1. “In what way have you loved us?” (1:2) The significance of this reveals an alarming lack of trust in God. They were implying that God had broken His promise to them.
2. “In what way have we despised your name?” “In what way have we defiled you?” (1:6,7) Malachi pointed out to them the sacrifices that they offered to God were unfit animals. This shows how half hearted the nation’s religious leaders had become. They were just going through the motions of worship and not giving their best.
Do we demand proof of God’s love for us? Do we offer God our best in worship or do we just go through the motions?
The imperfect sacrifices of the priest and people revealed the true condition of their hearts, they were not sincere. To sacrifice a perfect healthy animal seemed like a waste to them, and they considered the work preparing the sacrifice properly to be a foolish waste of time and energy. Malachi confronted this with the law of God, which demanded unblemished sacrifices and sincere hearts. ( Lev 1:3, 3:1 ; Duet 17:1) No sacrifices at all would have been better than second rate and insincere ones. They were merely going through the motions and only doing what was convenient , just enough to give the appearance of obeying God. During this time of celebration take time to check your heart condition, and examine yourself, that you are truly worshiping and praising God for the gift of His Son and that the worship and praise is more than lip service, but a true heart felt act of love and devotion.