Return from Exile: Malachi 1 (4)
Pray Psalm 50.1-4.
The Mighty One, God the LORD,
Has spoken and called the earth
From the rising of the sun to its going down.
Out of Zion, the perfection of beauty,
God will shine forth.
Our God shall come, and shall not keep silent;
A fire shall devour before Him,
And it shall be very tempestuous all around Him.
He shall call to the heavens from above,
And to the earth, that He may judge His people…
Sing Psalm 50.1-4.
(Austrian Hymn: Glorious Things of Thee Are Spoken)
God, the LORD, the mighty Savior, summons all from east to west:
Out of Zion, rich with favor, shines He, of all things the best.
Come, O God, and keep not silence; fire devours before Your way!
He His Church, steeped in defiance, comes to judge this awful day.
Read Malachi 1.1-10; meditate on verses 9-11.
1. How did God respond to their corrupt offerings?
2. What would He rather the people had done?
It is an act of colossal hubris to think that we can “cut corners” with God—whether in our worship or our lives—and still expect that He will look favorably upon us (v. 9). We give Him half-hearted devotion, obedience, and service and we expect Him to say, “Well, that’s fine”? This is not only hubris. It’s stupidity.
God would rather they stopped all services of worship than continue offering corrupt sacrifices and worship without gratitude to Him (v. 10; cf. Ps. 50). Yet not one of the priests or Levites was troubled by what was going on with the people and their offerings.
God makes Himself abundantly clear: “I have no pleasure in you” (v. 10). Wait. Do you mean that worship is supposed to be for God’s pleasure? I thought worship was for my pleasure. I should enjoy worship, shouldn’t I? I should “get something out of” worship? The preaching should speak to my needs, and not be too long, thank you very much. The singing should be to my liking. Since when is worship about God?
That was precisely Malachi’s point—or God’s point, speaking through His messenger. Everything in worship is for the honor and glory and praise and exaltation of God. And if we don’t bring our best to God in worship—attention, singing, giving, meditation, praying—God would rather have us just stay at home.
But He won’t be pleased with that, either. He has no pleasure in us when we fail to honor Him according to His Word, and we cannot expect His favor to rest upon us if we continue trying to do His work our way.
Treasures Old and New: Matthew 13.52; Psalm 119.162
“‘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” (Mal. 1.10).
“Has the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices,
as in obeying the voice of the LORD?
Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice,
and to heed than the fat of rams” (1 Sam. 15.22).
Are there any ministers today who would shut the doors of their church against fake worship?
Are there any worshipers who have the courage to suggest that captivity to the world be thrown out,
and true worship begin to take place in its stead?
We boycott all sorts of things today for “righteousness’ sake”; why not boycott something that God finds unacceptable? Like “half-hearted devotion”, “corrupt sacrifices and worship without gratitude”.
“Sacrifice and offering You did not desire; my ears You have opened.
Burnt offering and sin offering You did not require.
Then I said, ‘Behold, I come; in the scroll of the book it is written of me,
I delight to do Your will, O my God, and Your law is within my heart” (Ps. 40.6-8).
“For You do not desire sacrifice, or else I would give it; You do not delight in burnt offering.
The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, a broken and contrite heart—these, O God,
You will not despise” (Ps. 51.16, 17).
“I beseech you therefore brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God” (Rom. 12.1, 2).
In this, God will find pleasure, as we honor Him with our lives according to His Word—doing His work His way for His honor and glory!
1. How can you make sure your worship of God is what it should be?
2. How might you be able to tell when your worship or daily time with the Lord was beginning to lose its proper focus? What should you do then?
3. Whom will you encourage today by helping them see the many reasons we have for being grateful to our God?
In a choice between service without gratitude and no service at all, God chose the second. Earl Radmacher (1933-2014), NKJV Study Bible Note on Malachi 1.10
Pray Psalm 50.16-21.
Ask the Lord to search your soul and life. Are you offering anything to Him which does not honor Him? Listen, confess, repent, and seek renewing grace as needed.
Sing Psalm 50.16-21.
(Austrian Hymn: Glorious Things of Thee Are Spoken)
“All of you My Word despising, who are you to claim My grace?
Praise may from your lips be rising, but you scorn Me to My face.
You approve of all transgressions, scheme against your mother’s son!
I will crush your vain aggressions and destroy what you have done.”
T. M. and Susie Moore
Two books can help us understand our own captivity and lead us to seek revival and renewal in the Lord. The Church Captive asks us to consider the ways the Church today has become captive to the world. And Revived! can help us find the way to renewal. Learn more and order your free copies by clicking here and here.
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Except as indicated, all Scriptures are taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. For sources of all quotations, see the weekly PDF of this study. All psalms for singing are from The Ailbe Psalter, available free by clicking here.