“When you offer blind animals for sacrifice, is that not wrong? When you sacrifice lame or diseased animals, is that not wrong? Try offering them to your governor! Would he be pleased with you? Would he accept you?” says the Lord Almighty.”
Two things come to mind when I think of Malachi. 1) This is the last time God speaks to Israel through a prophet until John the Baptist comes on the scene. 2) Someone is about to give a sermon on tithing.
This book is so much more than that. This Bible adventure has helped show this to me. The books Malachi, Ezra and Nehemiah all go together. Israel is back in the Promised Land. They’ve rebuilt the Temple and the city walls. Things are looking up and yet, they have forgotten the God who saved them… again… And as a result, corruption, famine, poverty, and infighting are running rampant. It’s a mess.
The Lord sends Malachi (“my messenger”) with one message: return to the Lord, in everything. Especially in worship. Worship is the foundation of everything. God is not interested in our leftovers.
About a week ago, a friend of mine reached out and asked, “Hey, what do you do when you seem to be having difficulty getting into your devotional? Man, I feel I’m stalling and spinning trying to get back and stay with it.”
I shared some techniques that have worked for me in the past:
1) setting a time on my calendar,
2) committing to be present and read Scripture even if I feel like I’m going through the motions,
3) praying about the stall.
As I was sharing with him, I told him I felt I was a bit stalled too. So I tried to take my own advice. In reading Malachi, God is showing me the core issue in my stall. I’m bringing my leftovers to the party. I’m giving my best to other endeavors and then showing up with cold leftovers for God. Through Malachi, God asks the nation, “Would your governor be pleased with you offering defective goods?” Of course not! Try giving your employer or the IRS less than they expect. Why should I demand God should be appeased with sloppy seconds? It’s because I can love Him and still be OK with disrespecting Him.
Daily Battle Order:
Real Talk: You can love Jesus and sin majorly against him. The Bible and our culture are filled with examples of people who love the Lord and don’t fear Him. The Lord is honored when I demonstrate my love. Not because I say “Lord, Lord.”
Today, put Him first. Return to Him your best, just as he did for me. Take a hard step, cancel an event on your calendar that will leave you with only leftovers for God.