MALACHI 1:6–10 – “A son honors his father, and a servant his master. If then I am a father, where is my honor? And if I am a master, where is my fear? says the Lord of hosts to you, O priests, who despise my name. But you say, ‘How have we despised your name?’ By offering polluted food upon my altar. But you say, ‘How have we polluted you?’ By saying that the Lord’s table may be despised. When you offer blind animals in sacrifice, is that not evil? And when you offer those that are lame or sick, is that not evil? Present that to your governor; will he accept you or show you favor? says the Lord of hosts. And now entreat the favor of God, that he may be gracious to us. With such a gift from your hand, will he show favor to any of you? says the Lord of hosts. Oh that there were one among you who would shut the doors, that you might not kindle fire on my altar in vain! I have no pleasure in you, says the Lord of hosts, and I will not accept an offering from your hand.”
THEME OF THE DAY: DON’T GIVE HIM SECOND BEST. The scene in today’s scripture is a look into the gracious heart of God, but it also portrays an emotion from our God that should change our lives, if applicable. I know we must be careful addressing God’s emotions. He is not like us. Remember that. Always. He is love, but not human love which is tainted with selfishness. He gets angry but not human anger which is tainted with selfishness. God grieves but it is holy and righteous grief because His honor is ignored, His authority spurned, and His desires neglected. What Malachi teaches us is our God grieves when His people give Him their second best, or “leftovers” after they fulfill their own desires.
The Lord addresses Israel’s unfaithful priests. He quizzes them with two questions – where is My honor? and where is My fear? These sinful priests polluted their role and sacrifices. They dishonored the Lord, grieved His heart, and it all boiled down to they were giving Him second best of the sacrifices or we might even say “leftovers”. And the scripture ends with these chilling words from the Lord, “I will not accept an offering from your hand.”
Well, what about us? Obviously we are not priests of old offering blemished or second hand animal sacrifices to the Lord. But the principle applies. Does God get our “leftovers” of time and efforts? For instance, when we are at “peak performance” in the day, do our worldly hobbies, pursuits, recreation, and leisure activities get the best of us, and if we have anything left, we rush through a brief time in the Bible, prayer, or carve out an act of service that demands little? Is God getting the best of us or what is left of us? How that pans out in life tells us how much we know of His worthiness, majesty, love, and deserving of our best.
Second best or best? What is the Lord getting from us? If we are growing in the grace and knowledge of the Lord Jesus, it is the latter we are giving Him and that with great delight and zeal.
PRAYER: “Father, forgive me when I give the best of my efforts and time for my desire, and give You what is left over.”
QUOTE: “To give God second best in anything is to reveal how little we know of His worthiness, beauty, and love.”
In the affection of Christ Jesus,