“ ‘A son honors his father, and a servant his master. If then I am the Father, Where is My honor? And if I am a Master, Where is My reverence?’ Says the Lord of hosts to you priests who despise My name. ‘Yet you say, “In what way have we despised Your name?” You offer defiled food on My altar. But say, “In what way have we defiled You?” By saying, “The table of the Lord is contemptible.” And when you offer the blind as a sacrifice, is it not evil? And when you offer the lame and sick, is it not evil? Offer it then to your governor! Would he be pleased with you? Would he accept you favorably?’ says the Lord of hosts” (Malachi 1:6-8).
Would you like to eat something that was left on another person’s plate that they were unable to finish or would you prefer to have your own plate? How would you like “hand-me-down” underwear?
The prophet Malachi prophesied about 400 years before the birth of Christ during the days Nehemiah. Physically, things were going better for God’s people as they rebuilt the temple of God and the protective walls around Jerusalem (Nehemiah 1:3; 6:15). However, spiritually they were not doing so well as they questioned God’s love for them (Malachi 1:2), were mistreating their wives by divorcing them and marrying foreign women (Malachi 2:11-16), and, as the opening verses indicate, were growing cold in their relationship with God by offering to God their “second best” as they offered to Him the sick, the lame, and the blind animals in their sacrifices to Him (Malachi 1:6-8).
How did God feel about being given their “leftovers”? God was disgusted with their sacrifices to Him. In fact, the Lord wished someone would shut the doors of the Temple so that they would not offer such sacrifices to Him: “ ‘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’ ” (Malachi 1:10). God states that His own people, whom He had delivered from Babylonian captivity, had begun to view the worship of God as a “weariness” and felt contempt in having to worship God. God adds, “ ‘But you profane it, in that you say, “The table of the Lord is defiled; and its fruit, its food, is contemptible.” 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?’ Says the Lord” (Malachi 1:12-13).
Would God continue to tolerate being treated in such a way by His own people? God expects His name to be honored: “ ‘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” (Malachi 1:11). But, it was not too late for His people. God encourages them to repent: " ‘But now entreat God's favor, that He may be gracious to us. While this is being done by your hands, will He accept you favorably?’ Says the Lord of hosts” (Malachi 1:9). However, God does warn, “ ‘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’ ” (Malachi 1:14).
I pray that my heart never grow cold and lead me to view the worship of God as something that is a “weariness” and contemptible. Today, I rejoice in the Lord and what He has done for me. I refuse to give God my leftovers. I want to give God my best both in my offering and in my service to Him!
“Therefore by Him let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name” (Hebrews 13:15).