Daily Word

Cheap religion  | Malachi 1:6-8 (NASB)

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 armies to you, the 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 And when you present a blind animal for sacrifice, is it not evil? Or when you present a lame or sick animal, is it not evil? So offer it to your governor! Would he be pleased with you, or would he receive you kindly?” says the Lord of armies.

More on Malachi

It seems that the book was focused on addressing Israel’s various ways of rejecting or resisting God. “Essentially, the Israelites disputed God’s love, His name, and His will concerning: marriage and divorce, His justice, His demands regarding stewardship, and His service…Malachi charged the Jews with seven specific sins. In each case, his contemporaries responded by challenging his criticism. They said, “How have we done that?” (cf. 1:2, 6; 2:14, 17; 3:7, 8, 13)…They believed that since they were serving God as He had directed, then He must be pleased with them. Malachi said that their hearts were not right with God, and He was not pleased with them.” (planobiblechapel.org)

Cheap Religion

We saw yesterday that the people were guilty of rejecting God’s love (or at least questioning it). Now, Malachi goes after the priests for dishonoring God and His Name. How? By defiling the sacrifices and disregarding God’s design. Rather than offer pure, spotless animal sacrifices as prescribed (Deuteronomy 15:21), they offered the blemished, lame or sick ones.  “A cheap religion, costing little, is rejected by God, and so is worth nothing.” (JFB commentary) God is holy and requires holiness in service and offerings. Anything less disrespects and shows contempt. Malachi finalizes his point by revealing the priests wouldn’t’ consider offering these to the governor, so why to their God?

Our religion?

Of course we need to ask ourselves – what about our service, our attitude, our sacrifices? Are they holy and acceptable to the Lord? Or do we give God the leftovers of our time, money and energy? We forget that all these things come from Him. Enduringword.com has a nice section on this topic – addressed to preachers and their sermons (and bloggers). Let’s choose to repent now and cry out for help to change.

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