Could you imagine coming to worship God and Him telling you He wishes you would just go home and lock the doors of the place of worship so you didn’t waste His time or yours? What if He told you that your sacrifices were insulting and you wasted your time giving to Him? Someone might think that God was being cold and unfeeling since you were taking the time to serve Him. You might think He was ungrateful for not accepting what you were offering in sacrifice. What could drive such a loving and merciful God to wish you wouldn’t come into His presence? The answer is in Malachi 1:6-14.
In the first chapter of Malachi God is bringing charges against His people and answers the defense they might present. He describes how He detests their assembly and sacrifices. Their worship was so foul to Him that He wished that they would just stay home and lock the doors of the temple. Consider the case against God’s people:
They didn’t offer their best worship
The Old Law specified the animals to be brought for various sacrifices but all were to be of the best quality. The Creator deserves the best of His creation. Instead of bringing the best animals for sacrifice they brought the animals that were blind, lame, and sick animals that were useless or ready to die. Some even brought stolen animals. God considered such a sacrifice insulting. Such sacrifices reflected a lack of honor for serving God. He challenged them to take these animals as a gift to the governor to see if he would appreciate them. If an earthly leader would be insulted how much more the God of heaven! Perhaps they thought that God would have to accept whatever they offered. They were wrong.
They considered worship a burden
God who knows the hearts revealed their secret thoughts. They said worshiping God was a weariness. Such an attitude was disrespectful to God who is “a great king” and “the Lord of hosts.” Do we think the host of angels in heaven consider adoration of God to be tiresome? How sad it is when someone cannot be bothered to worship God or must go complaining of the inconvenience.
Because of these attitudes God wished that there was someone who recognized the foolishness of thinking God would accept such empty worship and close the doors of the temple to prevent such abominations from continuing. Spiritual emptiness and half-hearted gestures dishonor and insult the name of God.
What about your worship?
Hebrews 13:15: “Through him then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge his name.”
- When you worship God do you offer Him your best in offering the sacrifice of praise through singing or do you mumble the words, singing without thinking about what you are doing, or not sing at all?
- Do you give prayers and Bible study your focus and attention or do you use the time to whisper with friends, text, or sleep?
- You do not bring animal sacrifices but you are a living sacrifice to God, Romans 12:1. Do you indulge in sinful pleasures and practices during the week and present yourself to God spiritually lame and blind and expect Him to accept your defiled offering? Some people think that they can live an immoral lifestyle and be acceptable to God as long as they go to some worship services and put some money in the collection plate. God is not pleased with such offerings.
- Do you give God the best of your time, money, and service or do you pray, study, and serve others only when it is convenient for you?
- Will you quickly sacrifice attending a worship service to attend to your own pleasures?
- Do you prepare your Bible lesson for class and meditate on the message or show up unprepared and uninterested?
- Do you give money willingly, cheerfully, and liberally to the work of the Lord or do you bring a meager offering of what is left after you have spent money on your own pleasures?
- Are you giving yourself in worship to God or just showing up, putting in your time, and getting back to the earthly things that really bring you joy in life.
- If everyone worshiped as you do would God wish that you would just stay home because it does not honor Him?
If you feel your worship is empty, boring, and uninspiring look carefully at what you are bringing to God. The problem is not the order of worship, the quality of the preacher or singing, or the number of people assembled together. Those who do not give their best in worship will not leave spiritually nourished and refreshed or encouraged.
Let your attitude in worship be that of David:
- Psalm 122:1 “I was glad when they said to me, ‘Let us go to the house of the LORD’!”
- Psalm 42:1-2, 4 “As a deer pants for flowing streams, so pants my soul for you, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When shall I come and appear before God? …These things I remember, as I pour out my soul: how I would go with the throng and lead them in procession to the house of God with glad shouts and songs of praise, a multitude keeping festival.”