“You offer defiled food on My altar, but say, ‘In what way have we defiled You?’” (v. 7a)
As we saw in Part 1 Israel’s love for God had nearly died out in backsliding and the resultant distance. Here we observe one of the manifestations of this lack of love. The people were bringing their leftovers for offerings and the priests were accepting such. In Leviticus, chapters 21 thru 24, the Lord’s instructions were plainly stated to the people and the priests how they were to conduct themselves in this matter. While the sacrificial system had other significant aspects to teach the people, one was the recognition that we have nothing apart from God. God owns all things. By bringing our best to offer we are learning and being reminded of this – In love He gives and we in love then return.
Here in Malachi God chides Israel: “When you offer the blind as a sacrifice, is it not evil? And when you offer the lame and sick, is it not evil? Offer it then to your governor! Would he be pleased with you? Would he accept you favorably?” (v. 8) How often and how easily many will bow before human authority yet lock their knees unwilling and defiant before the Lord of Hosts. The Lord then told Israel that He had no pleasure in them nor would He accept their dregs.
What of us on this side of the cross? What are we to bring for offerings? The book of Romans tells us, “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.” (Romans 12: 1,2) God does not require of us our best sheep, no, He wants us, body, mind and will. He wants all of who we are and every bit of our time, treasure and talent. Is He receiving those things from you, from me? In love He gives, in love do we then return?
What are we laying on the altar? Anything less than our very lives is not enough.
Next time: (Part 3 – Priests)