Today we pray for the Nation of China and Consider Malachi 1:6-14

Today we are praying for the country of China.   Please help us  lift up this nation to the Lord today.  You can follow the two links below to learn more about the nation and its unreached people groups.  You can watch the video below to help guide you in your prayers.  

Please take time to meditate on the devotion for today as well.  

You can learn more about today's nation of by clicking here

You can learn about the different unreached people groups of today's nation by clicking here

Please join us in praying for this nation by joining in prayer with the video to the right.

CHINA Continent: Asia | Capital City: Beijing Government: Communist State | Population: 1,338,612,968 Major People Groups: 91% Han Chinese, 2% Thai, 2% Mongol Religion: 77% Non, 8% Buddhist, 7% Christian | Language: Mandarin/Chinese GDP Per Capita: $7,700 | Literacy Rate: 90.9% UNREACHED: 82.6%

Malachi 1:6-14        

The title of our study, “The Lord of Hosts” reminds us that this God who is delivering this message through Malachi to His chosen people is a God who is completely in charge.  He is a mighty general, master, and king.  He is the ruler and commander of myriads and myriads of angels and heavenly beings.  All of creation is at His beckon and call.  He is the Lord of Hosts.  Last time we learned that this title carried with it the following reality.

The Lord of Hosts has the freedom, right, and power to bestow His love, mercy, and grace on whomever He chooses.  Likewise, The Lord of Hosts has the freedom, right, and power to bestow His anger, wrath, and judgement on whomever He chooses.”

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Today, in our text, we will see that His title “The Lord of Hosts” implies that “He is so gloriously holy that His mighty Name will be magnified, great, and reverently feared from Jerusalem to the ends of the earth.”  As we will see, this text is ultimately about worship.  Worship is to ascribe to something or to an individual honor and respect.  It is to proclaim their worth.  They were doing just the opposite in this text.  

“ ‘A son honors his father, and a servant his master. Then if I am a father, where is My honor? And if I am a master, where is My respect?’ says the LORD of hosts to you, O priests who despise My name. But you say, ‘How have we despised Your name?’ 7 You are presenting defiled food upon My altar. But you say, ‘How have we defiled You?’ In that you say, ‘The table of the LORD is to be despised.’ 8 But when you present the blind for sacrifice, is it not evil? And when you present the lame and sick, is it not evil? Why not offer it to your governor? Would he be pleased with you? Or would he receive you kindly?” says the LORD of hosts. 9 “But now will you not entreat God’s favor, that He may be gracious to us? With such an offering on your part, will He receive any of you kindly?” says the LORD of hosts. 10 “Oh that there were one among you who would shut the gates, that you might not uselessly kindle fire on My altar! I am not pleased with you,” says the LORD of hosts, “nor will I accept an offering from you. 11 For from the rising of the sun even to its setting, My name will be great among the nations, and in every place incense is going to be offered to My name, and a grain offering that is pure; for My name will be great among the nations,” says the LORD of hosts. 12 “But you are profaning it, in that you say, ‘The table of the Lord is defiled, and as for its fruit, its food is to be despised.’ 13 You also say, ‘My, how tiresome it is!’ And you disdainfully sniff at it,” says the LORD of hosts, “and you bring what was taken by robbery and what is lame or sick; so you bring the offering! Should I receive that from your hand?” says the LORD. 14 “But cursed be the swindler who has a male in his flock and vows it, but sacrifices a blemished animal to the Lord, for I am a great King,” says the LORD of hosts, “and My name is feared among the nations.”

We will see 4 realities in this text this week.  

I.  Despising God’s Name    v6

We read in verse 6, “A son honors his father, and a servant his master. Then if I am a father, where is My honor? And if I am a master, where is My respect?’ says the LORD of hosts to you, O priests who despise My name. But you say, ‘How have we despised Your name?”  The term despise in this context conveys an the attitude of ongoing disrespect, which explains why God refers to Himself here as a father.  While most Christians today immediately assume that referring to God as their Father means that he loves them (and this would be true), that is not all that the fatherhood of God implies for us.  Very few people today would likely say that the fatherhood of God implies to them that God is to be honored and revered and respected.  

Yet this is exactly what we see emphasized in the first commandment with a promise.  God commands His people in Exodus 20:12, “Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be prolonged in the land which the LORD your God gives you.”  The fatherhood of God is brought into the discussion, not to assure them of his love (he has already done that), but instead to humble and frighten the priests, because they are despising their father's name.  If the focus on the God’s fatherhood was insufficient, he includes the analogy of servant and master.  If I am a Master, shouldn’t I be respected?  But you are despising my name.

The term despise in this context conveys an attitude of ongoing disrespect It also refers to the act of conveying insignificance or worthlessness upon an object, idea, or individual.  It is the same word used when Esau traded his birthright for some lentil stew!  We read in Genesis 25:27-34, “When the boys grew up, Esau became a skillful hunter, a man of the field, but Jacob was a peaceful man, living in tents. 28 Now Isaac loved Esau, because he had a taste for game, but Rebekah loved Jacob. 29 When Jacob had cooked stew, Esau came in from the field and he was famished; 30 and Esau said to Jacob, “Please let me have a swallow of that red stuff there, for I am famished.” Therefore his name was called Edom. 31 But Jacob said, “First sell me your birthright.” 32 Esau said, “Behold, I am about to die; so of what use then is the birthright to me?” 33 And Jacob said, “First swear to me”; so he swore to him, and sold his birthright to Jacob. 34 Then Jacob gave Esau bread and lentil stew; and he ate and drank, and rose and went on his way. Thus Esau despised his birthright.”  When Esau asked “of what use then is the birthright to me” he used the same word that God uses in Malachi 1:6 that is translated despised.  Esau literally despised his birthright.  Is it not ironic that God had just demonstrated His love for them by contrasting His treatment of Esau with His treatment of Jacob in verses 1-5, and now they are treating Him like Esau treated his birthright? 

Until tomorrow..... 

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