Tag Archives: Malachi

God has a complaint

Granted, the book of Malachi is directed to the children of Israel; but we, as being the adopted sons and daughters of the Most High King, His words, every word, is directed to us for instruction. Also as a reminder of the expectations that God has of His children. I’ve heard many say that they don’t read the Old Testament because it’s just too hard to understand. I would have to disagree with them. The Old Testament may be filled with a considerable amount of history and law, and topics that we think do not pertain to those of us saved by grace, but the lessons scattered throughout its pages are as relevant today as the day they were penned. The prophet Malachi was sent first to convince and then to comfort, much like the task of the Holy Spirit in the lives of Christians today. He first draws us to Himself, convicts us of our sin and then daily provides comfort to the child of God to make their pilgrimage to the Promised Land.

Malachi 1 has God voicing a complaint to Israel that is still an issue today. We haven’t come so far as we might think. I need for God to take the Band-Aids ® of productivity off my spiritual life. I conceal a nasty wound in my soul by covering it with busyness. Man… that hurt just like someone ripped a Band-Aid off my hide. But listen to the words of Malachi and see if they don’t ring true.

Malachi 1:2 – I have loved you, saith the Lord. Yet ye say, Wherein hast thou loved us? Was not Esau Jacob’s brother? saith the Lord: yet I loved Jacob.

God opens the conversation with the subject of ingratitude. That will likely rip the hide off most of God’s people. We are an ungrateful group; filled with the pious opinion that our sacrifice of time and energy for the church is enough. From Esau came the Edomites, who triumphed in the overthrow of Jerusalem, a fact that God could foresee and an attitude that was instilled in them through those generations. So when we read that God hated Esau, (vs. 3) as parents it’s a hard pill to swallow; until you read further into the history and discover the end result of Esau’s attitude.

Ingratitude is at the foundation of many of the issues of life. We’re dissatisfied with our position or possession because we’re not grateful enough for the fact that we have what we have. (Esau sold his position in life for a bowl of soup).  We’re aggravated with someone because we’re not grateful enough for their presence in our life. We’re neglectful of what we’ve been given to steward because we’re not grateful for the blessing. We fail to use to the talents that God gives us for the purpose He gives them to us because we’re not grateful He gave us the opportunity to serve Him at all.

I think that hit me on every point!

When God began His complaint to Israel through Malachi, He could see Shari in 2017. He could see you in 2017. He knew we needed this word. So as I sit here on a Saturday morning, I am ever conscience of God’s complaint. We never like to think about someone having something against us. It’s when the excuses begin.

God told Israel that He loved them and yet their response is “Wherein hast thou loved us?”  Show me how much you love me God by allowing (enter your request here) to happen. Have you ever said that? I know I have. I may not have said it in those exact words, but my ungrateful heart has said it in the way that I behaved when life wasn’t going my way. But God doesn’t except excuses.

He told Israel that all their “busy work was for nothing.” We think that our service for God is so grand, so did they.

And your eyes shall see, and ye shall say, The Lord will be magnified from the border of Israel.

Israel thought that their service to the Lord was “enough.” But God knew the ungratefulness behind their service. They didn’t fear God, else they’d have not served Him with half their heart and a substandard offerings.

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? 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 13 Ye said also, Behold, what a weariness is it! and ye have snuffed at it, saith the Lord of hosts; and ye brought that which was torn, and the lame, and the sick; thus ye brought an offering: should I accept this of your hand? saith the Lord. 14 But cursed be the deceiver, which hath in his flock a male, and voweth, and sacrificeth unto the Lord a corrupt thing: for I am a great King, saith the Lord of hosts, and my name is dreadful among the heathen.

God’s closing of His complaint finds Him telling Israel that if they won’t serve Him as they should, with their best, He’ll find a people who will.

Before God moves out of my life, perhaps I should look at the quality of my service and sacrifice. Is it bountiful, or is it just busyness?

Jacob, like us, was far from perfect, his name meant deceiver after all! But he sought to serve God when he wrestled in Genesis 32:24. He was willing to fight for what God had. Are we? Or are just satisfied with a bowl of soup?

Esau was a hunter and provider. He got his job done. Jacob wouldn’t stop until he prevailed with God, and God changed his name from “Deceiver.” To “a prince who had power with God and with men and hast prevailed.”

Jacob sacrificed for, sought for and served for God. And in Him God did not complain.

Lame Sacrifices and Wet Wood on the Altar

I fear… I wrote those words with the intentions of writing what I feared to follow. But I just had to stop there and ask myself, “Do you really fear? Do you have that godly reverence in your soul that was there 20 years ago when you were first saved and realized what God had saved you from? Do you remember those trips to the altar when you were sobbing because the Spirit of the Lord was upon you so heavy? Then you had fear… now you have guilt.” That was a conversation in my head at 3:30 this morning.

David had just gotten called out on a traffic accident and the continuous squawking of the radio kept me awake. I scrolled through Facebook, watched a few videos, enjoyed the warmth of the covers, and then finally my mind returned to the original thought. “Why is the altar empty?”

For my friend Gloria and me, many of our miles lately have been traveled with a conversation about the empty altars in the church. Where the altar used to be lined with praying souls, it is now a handful of broken saints and an occasional child who finds themselves knelt down at the altar. “Why?” I asked myself again. So I ask google. Not even google had an answer for me. So I went to He Who has the answers and this was what read.

Malachi 1:6-10

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?

You’re probably saying what I said. “But God, I love you!” To which He replies:

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.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.

Israel wasn’t bringing their best to the altar. They were bringing their leftovers to the altar. And so am I if I’m honest. Going to the altar has become somewhat ritualistic for me. I go because I know I need to go, and will continue doing so; but I’m not giving my best while I’m there. I give God a halfhearted “help me please…” and then get up unchanged. My heart is not prepared, I’ve brought a lame sacrifice and wet wood. So what will it take to set the altar of God on fire in our church?

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. 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.

God honestly doesn’t care who we are. He wants to know how serious we are. He wants the doors shut and the fire stoked when we approach Him with request. In my mind I read that as the world being shut out, and the fire within my soul blazing with passion when I make my plea. My focus needs to be on the perfect sacrifice that Christ made on the cross. My sacrifice will always be lame. His was perfect.

I have a tendency to look at an empty altar and get discouraged because the rest of the church is in their seats. That ought not to be…

This morning I want to focus on what I bring to the altar. What will I bring and how will I bring it? I’m believing if I go with passion in my soul that fire will fall from heaven and ignite my wet timbers.

Bring down the fire! Let’s go to church!!!

Zero Tolerance Christianity

zero tolerance1

While I will agree there have been behaviors by self-proclaimed Christians that should not be tolerated, I would not tout them as Christian behaviors. Therein lies the difference and a misconception of the world that all Christians are alike. But in all honesty I don’t think the world cares that we’re not alike, it serves their purpose to collectively lump Christians into a group of extremists trying to take over society. And yet we ignore a real group of extremists who have set their minds to violently take over the world and call them a religion of peace… seriously? “Oh but there’s just a few ‘extremist’ in the bunch that give the religion a bad name,” they say, and then those same “theys” will complain because a Christian organization wrote scripture on a cup and gave away hot chocolate on a college campus. Is this a Sunday morning rant? I sure hope not. It’s not my intent to rant, it’s my intent to give you something to ponder about your own toleration.

We have only ourselves to blame for the intolerance in the world, because we (collectively, as they like to judge us) have been tolerate of their intolerance of us. They say we cannot pray in school, and we say “okay.” They say gay marriage is acceptable in the sight of God, and we say “okay.” They say killing babies is not killing because the baby has yet to be born, but a drunk hits a pregnant woman and kills the child and is charged with murder, and we say that that   hypocritical thinking is “okay.” A Muslim religious ritual can be conducted in a public school and it’s “okay,” but we dare not bring a Bible into a classroom. We have a President who has 10 more months to finish his anti-God agenda  and the liberal’s hiss like a snake at conservatives who dare object.

Is it any wonder we’ve become tolerate of our own sin? We’ve certainly accepted everyone else’s. God is viewed by socialistic society as an angry God of judgement because He doesn’t tolerate what destroys society. Sin destroys us from within. America is proof of it. They have not had to fire the first shot on our soil to have us cowering to their way of belief. That same notion that has been accepted nationally now knocks on the door of every home and most open the door and offer it cake and coffee, followed by cake and ice cream for the kids because we want them to grow up being tolerate of intolerance.

All the while there are sects in the Church who are removing the blood from the gospel because it seems harsh and intolerant and the God of the New Testament doesn’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings because he loves everyone and accepts them as they are, even Muslim. Yeah… that’s how far we’ve come.

For the record, Christians are not all the same. There’s still a few of us left who believe the inspired Word of God as it was written and without apology.  The Old and New Testaments explain that God does not change. Old Testament scripture says in Malachi 3:6

For I am the Lord, I change not

New Testament Scripture says in Hebrews 13:8

Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.

It’s not God who wavers on His word, it’s man. And before we, who have not changed, get on our high horse and shout to the top of our lungs, “preach that!” Because we’ve stood firm on our foundation… have we also stood firm on our foundation personally?

  • What words crossed our lips (or minds) this week?
  • What attitude did we share with friends, coworkers and family?
  • Did we have God’s stamp of approval on every decision?
  • Did we turn away from ungodly images or thoughts?
  • Did we love others as ourselves?
  • Did we tell someone about Jesus?

At what point does God tolerate sin? On our minimal sins or the world’s maximum sin?

Neither. God has no tolerance for tolerance.

Will we sin, yes, we’re human, 1 John 1:8 says If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.”

But the difference in Christians should be that it’s never tolerated nor accepted. If every Christian in America would get back to that basic belief-ism and stop allowing the double standards that liberalism has placed our country in II Chronicles 7:14 would come to pass. I’m not ready to give up on America…

  • Search yourself and ask God to shine the light on darkness.
  • Never accept sin as an acceptable standard.
  • Pray that Christian Americans will stand up for God’s word.
  • Never stop talking about Jesus.
  • Pray with purpose

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