The Lord rebukes His priests through the prophet Malachi in Malachi 1:6-12. Today we discuss polluted offerings and the believer’s duty to offer God our best.
You can play, download, or read the transcript of this Take Note Podcast below.
- Today we read from the word of the Lord to Israel by Malachi
- It becomes clear that there is a problem with Israel’s worship right from the beginning
- If you just read the headings above each section in this book
- You’ll know that the problem is addressed
- Headings like: “The Priests’ Polluted Offerings”
- Or “The Lord Rebukes the Priests”
- Or “Judah Profaned the Covenant”
- Israel continues their worship practices
- But Israel is far from God
- These are religious rituals
- Not worship from the heart
- The section we’ll address today
- Near the beginning of chapter one
- Meets the question of worship head on
- As the Lord uses Malachi to ask some important questions
- Like, where is “Mine Honour?”
- Which is our theme today
- Malachi is not an often-remembered prophet
- His message is relatively consistent throughout this book
- That’s the part you may remember
- He brings to light the ingratitude and lacking fear of God present among his people
- He calls out hypocrisy and contaminated worship of the One True God
- His rebuke is painful, but necessary
- The priests appear to be the first on his list
- They have allowed this misguided worship to continue
- They endorse it by their actions
- As we see in the first verse, it appears to be their idea
- But it is wrong…
6 A son honoureth his father, and a servant his master: if then I be a father, where is mine honour? and if I be a master, where is my fear? saith the LORD of hosts unto you, O priests, that despise my name. And ye say, Wherein have we despised thy name?
7 Ye offer polluted bread upon mine altar; and ye say, Wherein have we polluted thee? In that ye say, The table of the LORD is contemptible.
- There are some logical statements to begin this rebuke
- Sons, generally speaking, honor their fathers
- At least, this is the way it should be
- And a servant ought to fear his master
- But God is Father over all His children
- And these priests honor Him not
- He is the Master of all Israel
- But they fear Him not
- And He asks, where is my honor?
- And where is my fear?
- Because it seems their honor and fear has long-since departed
- The text tells us why
- The priests despise His name
- They don’t announce they despise His name
- But their actions prove it
- Which actions?
- How have they despised His name?
- By offering polluted bread
- That is, when food offerings were to be given, their offerings were unfit
- Instead of offering God their best, which He deserved
- They offered Him their worst
- That which troubled them nothing to part with
- We have more details as the passage continues…
8 And if ye offer the blind for sacrifice, is it not evil? and if ye offer the lame and sick, is it not evil? offer it now unto thy governor; will he be pleased with thee, or accept thy person? saith the LORD of hosts.
- The animals provided for sacrifice were, apparently, often blind or lame or sick
- If they would have offered such animals, even to a foreign king set over them
- They would have been unacceptable
- If you’re not familiar with the Old Testament practice of sacrifice
- Know that God required it, the shedding of blood, as a covering for their sins
- It was also for the purpose of worship
- To show that God’s people honored Him with their very best
- God required unblemished sacrifices
- Something that cost the people
- That showed how much they valued Him
- These offerings were polluted
- They showed exactly the opposite
- Malachi offers advice on what to do next…
9 And now, I pray you, beseech God that he will be gracious unto us: this hath been by your means: will he regard your persons? saith the LORD of hosts.
- It might be helpful to read another rendering of this verse, this one found in the ESV…
“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. “
- God is gracious
- He is long-suffering
- He forgives His people
- These priests should appeal to Him
- They have done this with their own hands
- And they certainly don’t deserve to be heard
- But grace means a gift to the undeserving
- Their polluted sacrifices should end
- And they should cry unto Him in repentance
- The Lord continues through Malachi…
10 Who is there even among you that would shut the doors for nought? neither do ye kindle fire on mine altar for nought. I have no pleasure in you, saith the LORD of hosts, neither will I accept an offering at your hand.
- This seems to indicate it would be better for no sacrifices to be offered at all
- That the doors to the inner court of the temple were closed, perhaps
- And that the commanded sacrifices were ceased
- Because the Lord had no pleasure in the current sacrifices being offered
- They were not accepted
- God provides an interesting glimpse into the future before He continues regarding the priests…
11 For from the rising of the sun even unto the going down of the same my name shall be great among the Gentiles; and in every place incense shall be offered unto my name, and a pure offering: for my name shall be great among the heathen, saith the LORD of hosts.
- I have written something about this verse recently that might help…
“Though the people of Israel, God’s people, are failing to honor Him like they should, there shall come a time, the prophet says, when He will be honored.
The Gentiles, those foreign to the covenants of promise, will soon present pure offerings to Him. People who had no outward appearance of piety, described as heathens, and pagans, would be changed into people that worship the One True God from the heart.
We, who live in this age of grace, are familiar with a time like this.
A time when, through the sacrifice of Christ, people of all tribes, tongues, and nations are coming to know Jehovah.”
- Then, we get quickly back to the topic at hand…
12 But ye have profaned it, in that ye say, The table of the LORD is polluted; and the fruit thereof, even his meat, is contemptible.
- Religious activity, for the sake of religious activity is no good
- It is useless
- It does nothing to honor God
- To offer God less than our best is, in fact, to offer Him less than nothing
- It can show a disdain for Him
- And while we may look pious before those watching, who don’t understand
- God sees everything clearly and without hindrance
- If we offer God anything in life
- It should be our best
- He is worthy of our best
- At all times