Why I Like Malachi and More from Malachi

We will finish up Revelation in a bit. I thought it important to study the Nativity accounts and see that Jesus is the long awaited Messiah and how those involved responded to God’s call for them to participate in that great event. The only one that responded to God’s call in a not quite appropriate way was Zacharias. We could say that his Christmas present was a lesson in faith and not to doubt God and not to doubt that God can use anyone for His purposes that He chooses- no matter what their personal circumstance might be. It this time of the year that we “get on fire” for the Lord and that is great but, how long does the fire burn? Does the flame begin to flicker and go out about mid January and not rekindle again until Lent and Easter come around again?  How is our faith between these two most important Church Holidays? I am not only speaking about our faith but what about our service for the Lord? Does it  wane and we become lackadaisical in our efforts to advance the kingdom or even in our prayer time and devotional and Scripture reading?  I know my prayer life and devtional time tend to become sporadic during the off times between Christmas and Easter.  I read through the entire Bible every year, and I have had to do, what I call, marathon reads to catch up with where I should be at times. We have been looking at the opening passages in the book of Malachi and he is warning the people and the religious leaders about the coming judgment because of their laxness in offering sacrifices and not giving the best animals that they had . Well, today, we do not sacrifice animals, but we do give money, time, our skills and abilities in service to the Lord, but are we not guilty of the same things when we give money that is left over? Do we just volunteer to do things that we have time for?  Do we tend to stay in our comfort zone and not take a risk?   Where is the sacrifice in doing our service when it is convenient for us, where is the sacrifice if we just give what we think we can afford, where it the sacrifice in doing the same things we have always done ? And this question are essentially what Malachi was speaking about – 

Malachi 1:9-10

New King James Version (NKJV)

9 “ But now entreat God’s favor,
That He may be gracious to us.
Whilethis is being done by your hands,
Will He accept you favorably?”
Says the LORD of hosts.
10 “ Who is there even among you who would shut the doors,
So that you would not kindle fire on My altar in vain?
I have no pleasure in you,”
Says the LORD of hosts,

“ Nor will I accept an offering from your hands.

V10- “shut the doors” In a choice between service without gratitude and no service at all, God chooses the SECOND.  The word ‘pleasure” here describes God’s desire to smile, even to laugh with joy, at true worship from a godly people.  

11 For from the rising of the sun, even to its going down,
My name shall be great among the Gentiles;
In every place incense shall be offered to My name,
And a pure offering;
For My name shall be great among the nations,”
Says the LORD of hosts.
12 “ But you profane it,
In that you say,

‘ The table of the LORD[b] is defiled;
And its fruit, its food, is contemptible.’

v 11 “great among the Gentiles” God would one day receive praise from all nations, even the gentiles would be offer praise while God’s own people were profaning His Holy Name.  (Psalm 87, 117)

v12 “you profane it” The people were God with contempt by their careless attitudes concerning their offerings. 

13 You also say,

‘ Oh, what a weariness!’
And you sneer at it,”
Says the LORD of hosts.

“ And you bring the stolen, the lame, and the sick;
Thus you bring an offering!
Should I accept this from your hand?”

v13- The demands of God were neither understood or appreciated, they seemed to mere busywork.  “Stolen… lame… sick..” The gifts of the priests were not presentable, some were stolen goods, and others were animals that were useless.  To sacrifice something of no value was not a sacrifice at all. 
14 “ But cursed be the deceiver
Who has in his flock a male,
And takes a vow,
But sacrifices to the Lord what is blemished—
For I am a great King,”
Says the LORD of hosts,

“ And My name is to be feared among the nations.

v14- Can anyone really deceive God? The deception is only in the eyes of the deceiver.  “I am a great KING” The reputation of the Lord among His people was to have been the means whereby all nations would be drawn to worship Him as well.

So as we move from Advent into Christmas, lets keep our worship sincere and honest.  Let us make sure that we are worshiping with the proper attitude and with an open mind and a receptive heart- and no matter what your gift to the Christ is – make sure it is the very best- He deserves nothing less from His people. 

Have a blessed and joyous celebration of Christ! 


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