“The Lord Almighty says to the priests: “A son honors his father, and a servant respects his master. I am your father and master, but where are the honor and respect I deserve? You have despised my name! But you ask ‘How have we ever despised your name?’ v.7 You have despised my name by offering defiled sacrifices on my altar. Then you ask, ‘How have we defiled the sacrifices?’ You defile them by saying the altar of the Lord deserves no respect." Malachi 1: 6-7
If given the choice on any given day we would choose to pick the best options that are available. The best apple in the barrel. The best strawberry in the basket. The best outfit in the closet. Right? We are far less likely to reach to the back of the closet for the tired, run over shoes from a few years ago to wear to a party. We are going to immediately reach for the cute, fresh ones we bought a few weeks ago! Of course. We want the pick of the litter for ourselves. Likewise we should give the pick of the litter to God.
Malachi 1:7 begins our discussion on how we should consider what we give to God:
V.7 “You have despised my name by offering defiled sacrifices on my altar.”
During this time sacrifices of animals were the custom and requirement for atonement. The giver, a believer in God, would give a living sacrifice to God as an offering on His alter. Things started going wrong when someone came up with the idea of sparing the best and instead offering the leftovers. Let’s be honest, if we were in the days of biblical times many of us would think “Why hand over my prettiest, fluffiest, fattest sheep/ goat/ ox as an offering? I could use that skin for a nice handbag, the fur to make a lovely sweater, and uh-huh, wouldn’t that make a month’s worth of delicious dinner for the family…I think I’ll offer the sickly little animal over there in the corner. Yeah, him. I can’t do much with that one, so I can just bring that as an offering and call it a day.” Now, may the Lord richly bless you if you think this is an appalling mindset; and may He also richly bless those of us who can be honest with ourselves and admit that we would have more than likely taken the above approach.
V. 8 “When you give blind animals as sacrifices isn’t that wrong? And isn’t it wrong to offer animals that are crippled and diseased? Try giving gifts like that to your governor, and see how pleased he is!” says the Lord Almighty.”
So let’s put all of this in perspective for us modern women – you know, without the sheep and goats and oxen. Let’s look at our time and energy as our offering to God. God has blessed us with abundant life and resources to enjoy this life HE has given. When we hop out of bed, prepare for our workday or big event, push ourselves like mad women all day, then come home and fall into bed with barely enough energy to say our prayers, we are cheating Him. If I’m on the computer all day, uploading pictures of my great weekend outing or corresponding with friends, but don’t take the time to read and meditate on God’s word, I am cheating Him. I am giving God second best when I run all over town, to this event and that meeting, having brunch with the girls, setting up my plans for the rest of the weekend, but then don’t have time to attend church because ‘Sunday is the only day I get to sleep in and recover from my busy week’. Our Lord has made it amazingly clear in Malachi 1:12 “But you dishonor my name with your actions. By bringing contemptible food, you are saying it is alright to defile the Lord’s table.”
Let’s put a bookmark in that until next week ladies… (a little cliffhanger for those who like adventure!)
By God’s grace you will take the opportunity to worship this Sunday at your local church. It’s Resurrection Sunday y’all, this is what it’s all about for us Christians! Put on something jazzy and praise the Lord for sending His Son as a sacrifice for our sins.
Stay fly girls ;-)