Return from Exile: Malachi 1(5)
Pray Psalm 116.7-9
Return to your rest, O my soul,
For the LORD has dealt bountifully with you.
For You have delivered my soul from death,
My eyes from tears,
And my feet from falling.
I will walk before the LORD
In the land of the living.
Sing Psalm 116.7-9.
(Mit Freuden Zart: All Praise to God Who Reigns Above)
Full well the LORD has dealt with me; my soul from death He delivered.
My weeping eyes, my stumbling feet, He has redeemed forever.
Forever I before His face shall walk with those who know His grace,
and dwell with them forever.
Read Malachi 1.1-3; meditate on verses 11-13.
1. What was God seeking?
2. How did the people fail in their calling?
God’s intention is clear: He will make His Name great among all the nations of the earth, such that the people of the world offer pure offerings to Him—worship, prayer, their very lives (v. 11). God intends that the knowledge of His glory should cover the earth as the waters cover the sea (Hab. 2.14). And He has saved, is sanctifying, and has appointed and sent a people to bear His grace to the world (2 Cor. 4.15).
But the people of Israel frustrated God’s intention, since they wearied of worshiping and serving Him and offered only what was convenient in their service to Him (v. 13). They were going through the motions of worship without the heart of gratitude true worship requires (Ps. 50.14).
One great obstacle to people believing in Christ and serving God is the lack of commitment, enthusiasm, and genuine devotion on the part of believers. We offer the Lord the very least we can, thinking more of ourselves than of Him; and we do not honor Him by devoting our whole lives in prayer, purity and obedience. We don’t take seriously His call for us to be His witnesses and make all the nations disciples; and we do not even take our own discipleship as seriously as we should. It’s just too much trouble.
The Lord does not accept such offerings (v. 13), and He holds in contempt those priests and pastors who encourage or endorse such a low level of commitment on the part of His people (v. 14). God intends His Name to be feared among the nations, and if He must bring His captive people to judgment to achieve this end, He surely will.
Treasures Old and New: Matthew 13.52; Psalm 119.162
This passage brings to mind the cavalier way the sacrament of Communion is administered and taken today.
Pastors often do not “fence” the Table by declaring that only those who believe in the Lord Jesus Christ should partake. They do not offer appropriate time for confession of sin, to prepare hearts for this holy remembrance of our Savior’s death. And because of this poor leadership, the participants view it as something unserious and inconsequential.
Jesus said, “Take, eat; this is My body which is broken for you;
do this in remembrance of Me” (1 Cor. 11.24).
Paul adds this clarifier: “For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup,
you proclaim the Lord’s death till He comes” (1 Cor. 11.26).
And then he adds this further clarification and warning:
“Therefore whoever eats this bread and drinks this cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. But let each one examine himself, and so let him eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For he who eats and drinks in an unworthy manner eats and drinks judgment to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body. For this reason many are weak and sick among you, and many sleep” (1 Cor. 11.27-30).
If this is the case, may it no longer be so for us. We never want to hear God say, “But you profane it, in that you say, ‘The table of the LORD is defiled; and its fruit, its food, is contemptible’” (Mal. 1.12). As Jesus said on that night of the first declared and celebrated Communion, “truly the Son of Man goes as it has been determined, but woe to that man by whom He is betrayed!” (Lk. 22.22).
To remember the Lord Jesus Christ through this sacrament is a privilege and honor for those who cherish salvation through His precious and holy Body and Blood. The act of taking Communion, as with everything else about the Christian walk, is serious business. Not ever to be taken lightly.
His Name is great in our hearts and among the nations! (Mal. 1.11). That is God’s plan and pleasure.
1. How do you prepare for participating in the Lord’s Supper?
2. What can we do to keep worship from becoming a “weariness” to us?
3. What will you offer to the Lord today to honor Him by your life?
… both the priests and the people are here condemned, because the worship of God was a weariness to them, as we snuff at a thing when it displeases us. John Calvin (1509-1564), Commentary on Malachi 1.11-13
Pray Psalm 116.10-19.
What will you offer to the Lord today in view of all the many blessings He has given you? Pray that He will enable you to be a living sacrifice to Him throughout this day, and to show His glory in everything you do.
Sing Psalm 116.10-19.
(Mit Freuden Zart: All Praise to God Who Reigns Above)
Afflicted, I believe His Word, though lying men would undo me.
What shall I render to the LORD for all His blessings to me?
Salvation’s cup I lift above and call upon the God of love
and pay my vows most truly.
How sweet to Him when saints depart—make me, Your servant, Savior!
From sin You loosed my wand’ring heart; I praise Your Name forever!
On You I call, my vows to pay; here in Your Presence I would stay,
Your praise to offer ever.
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.
Support for Scriptorium comes from our faithful and generous God, who moves our readers to share financially in our work. If this article was helpful, please give Him thanks and praise.
And please prayerfully consider supporting The Fellowship of Ailbe with your prayers and gifts. You can contribute online, via PayPal or Anedot, or by sending a gift to The Fellowship of Ailbe, 103 Reynolds Lane, West Grove, PA 19390.
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.