Today we are praying for the country of Taiwan. 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.
Please join us in praying for this nation by joining in prayer with the video below.
Yesterday we saw how the priests were despising God's Name. Today we will see the final 3 ways God rebukes them for their false worship. Tomorrow we will hear part 2 of Robby Rikard's teaching on Jesus' first and last command. Be sure to check it out!
II. Defiling God’s Altar v7-9
They not only despised God’s Name, but they defiled His altar as well. We read in verses 7-9, “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.” To offer blind, crippled, or diseased animals was sin because it clearly violated the law of God. Exodus 12:5 states, “Your lamb shall be an unblemished male a year old; you may take it from the sheep or from the goats.” Leviticus 1:10 says, “But if his offering is from the flock, of the sheep or of the goats, for a burnt offering, he shall offer it a male without defect.” Again in Leviticus 22:22 we see, “Those that are blind or fractured or maimed or having a running sore or eczema or scabs, you shall not offer to the LORD, nor make of them an offering by fire on the altar to the LORD.” To offer such animals showed a lack of respect for the greatness of God and was defiling to His altar.
They definitely would not have offered such animals to the governor. God says in verse 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?” The term entreat could literally be translated “to smooth over.” It is as if they are trying to do just enough to smooth over their grievous sin. It is like they are attempting to appease God with blemished, unacceptable, unauthorized sacrifices so that He will give them what they ask Him for. It just doesn’t work that way. While we can never merit any favor from God, we should not think for a second that we have the right to pretend to be god until the times come when we decide we need a bigger God. Robby Gallaty put it this way: “In modern times God may have reason to say something to you like this: You offer your best to Uncle Sam, but you offer less to the work of God. You spend all of your time watching college football, but you spend minimal time reading My Word. You spend all your time in your hobbies, but you devote little time to praying, seeking, memorizing, and meditating. And now you solicit favor of God?” There is no smoothing things over with God, especially when our pattern consists of defiled, unauthorized, unacceptable offerings.
III. Displeasing God v10-12
We read in verses 10-12, “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.” God was so repulsed by this disgraceful worship that he pleaded for at least one priest to have the decency to shut the temple doors and stop this disgraceful worship.
This is not the first time he has felt this way about worship. Almost 5:21-24 says, “I hate, I reject your festivals, Nor do I delight in your solemn assemblies. 22 “Even though you offer up to Me burnt offerings and your grain offerings, I will not accept them; And I will not even look at the peace offerings of your fatlings. 23 “Take away from Me the noise of your songs; I will not even listen to the sound of your harps. 24 “But let justice roll down like waters And righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.” Now, here in Malachi God is saying that it would be better to shut the doors than to worship uselessly.
There is a Hebrew word behind that phrase “worship uselessly" that carries a lot of weight. The Hebrew word is hinam. It is used, for example, in 2 Samuel 24:24 in a way very similar to this verse. We read, “So Gad came to David that day and said to him, “Go up, erect an altar to the LORD on the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite.” 19 David went up according to the word of Gad, just as the LORD had commanded. 20 Araunah looked down and saw the king and his servants crossing over toward him; and Araunah went out and bowed his face to the ground before the king. 21 Then Araunah said, “Why has my lord the king come to his servant?” And David said, “To buy the threshing floor from you, in order to build an altar to the LORD, that the plague may be held back from the people.” 22 Araunah said to David, “Let my lord the king take and offer up what is good in his sight. Look, the oxen for the burnt offering, the threshing sledges and the yokes of the oxen for the wood. 23 Everything, O king, Araunah gives to the king.” And Araunah said to the king, “May the LORD your God accept you.” 24 However, the king said to Araunah, “No, but I will surely buy it from you for a price, for I will not offer burnt offerings to the LORD my God which cost me nothing.” So David bought the threshing floor and the oxen for fifty shekels of silver. 25 David built there an altar to the LORD and offered burnt offerings and peace offerings. Thus the LORD was moved by prayer for the land, and the plague was held back from Israel (2 Samuel 24:18-25). David said, “I will not offer burnt offerings to the Lord my God hinam—which cost me nothing.” It was as if God was saying their offerings were worth nothing to Him! God was displeased with their useless offerings.
IV. Disdaining God’s Worship v13-14
Finally, we see in verses 13-14, “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 have seen the actions of the people and the priests. These verses reveal the attitude, which were the heart of the issue. The priests, who’s primary duty, role, and responsibility was to worship dreaded worship! It was a tiresome activity to them. It is likely tiresome to many who might be reading these words now. Some of us might disdainfully sniff at it, especially when the sermon goes a bit long or the music doesn’t meet your preferences. You disdainfully sniff, but you check it off. That is exactly how they were treating worship in Malachi’s day. The priests had viewed their service as a system of checking boxes or punching cards and they just wanted to get their work done in order to return home to relax. Can you imagine such an attitude in the worship of the Lord of Hosts? Here is this great God, “The Lord of Hosts” so gloriously holy that His mighty Name will be magnified, great, and reverently feared from Jerusalem to the ends of the earth.” and these priests were weary of worshiping Him.
As we draw this portion of our study to a close, let us think on this reality. The Lord of Hosts is so gloriously holy that His mighty Name will be magnified. Do you recall what we saw in Malachi 1:5? It reads, “Your eyes will see this and you will say, “The LORD be magnified beyond the border of Israel!” The Psalmist echoes this in Psalm 96:3 “Tell of His glory among the nations, His wonderful deeds among all the peoples.” The Lord of Hosts is so gloriously holy that His mighty Name will be magnified and great! Verse 11 reads, “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.” The name of your Father which you dishonor with sick sheep and mangy goats—that name is one day going to be reverenced and held in highest esteem by every nation of the world and in every place on the earth. We see this ultimately, and finally, fulfilled in Revelation 7:9-12: “After these things I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no one could count, from every nation and all tribes and peoples and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, and palm branches were in their hands; 10 and they cry out with a loud voice, saying, “Salvation to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb.” 11 And all the angels were standing around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures; and they fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, 12 saying, “Amen, blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might, be to our God forever and ever. Amen.” The Lord of Hosts is so gloriously holy that His mighty Name will be magnified, great, and reverently feared. The latter part of verse 14 says, “I am a great King,” says the LORD of hosts, “and My name is feared among the nations.” The Psalmist writes in Psalm 47:2-3, “For the LORD Most High is to be feared, A great King over all the earth. 3 He subdues peoples under us And nations under our feet.” The Lord of Hosts is so gloriously holy that His mighty Name will be magnified, great, and reverently feared from Jerusalem to the very ends of the earth. This is the great commission Jesus gave us in Acts 1:8. May it be our heartbeat as we consider the worth of The Lord of Hosts. “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth” (Acts 1:8).
Tomorrow we will hear part 2 of Robby Rikard's teaching on Jesus' first and last command. Be sure to check it out! Until then...
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