Malachi was called to perform a difficult and dangerous task. It was his responsibility to rebuke the people for the sins they were committing against God and against one another, and to call them to return to the Lord. Malachi took a wise approach: he anticipated the objections of the people and met them head-on. 'This is what God says,' declared the prophet, 'but you say...” and then he would answer their complaints.
God had much to say to His people who had sinned against Him. In each of these chapters we find a complaint leveled by the Almighty God against, not the world and not the lost man, but against those who were His own. We must not make the mistake of thinking that Malachi is just ancient history. Unfortunately, these conditions and sins are present with us in this day and age as well.
In chapter one he deals with their attitude toward God; in chapter two he deals with their unfaithfulness; and in chapter three he deals with their robbery and arrogance. This morning I want to focus upon the wrong attitude toward God. I believe if we fail in this area we will also fail in the rest.
In the first five verses Malachi deals with the fact of God’s love for His people which was proven over and over again. He now turns his attention on the problem of their attitude toward such a loving and compassionate God. They were guilty of dishonoring the great name of God. When Malachi confronted them, they arrogantly asked, “... Wherein have we despised thy name?” so he told them.
I. They were offering defiled sacrifices on the altar. v6-10
A. Sacrifices were to be perfect.
1. The word 'bread" means "food' and refers to the sacrifices provided in the Law of Moses.
2. These animals had to be perfect nothing imperfect could be brought to the altar of God and accepted.
“And if there be any blemish therein, as if it be lame, or blind, or have any ill blemish, thou shalt not sacrifice it unto the LORD thy God.” (Deu 15:21)
3. After all, these sacrifices pointed to the Lamb of God who would one day die for the sins of the world.
4. If they were imperfect, how could they typify the Perfect Sacrifice, the Son of God?
B. The people were bringing to God less than their best. v7-8
1. If they had offered these defective beasts to their governor, he would have rejected them, but the animals were good enough for the Lord.
2. What does this say to us today?
3. Does God expect less from us now than He did from His people here?
C. Our offerings to God are an indication of what’s in our hearts.
1. “For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” (Mat 6:21)
2. People who claim to love the Lord and His work can easily prove it with their checkbooks!
3. If we’ve experienced the grace of God, we’ll have no problem giving generously to the Lord who has given so much to us
4. How can we ask God to be gracious to us and answer prayer (v9) if we've not practiced 'grace giving' ourselves?
D. Malachi told them that it would be better to close the doors of the temple and stop the sacrifices altogether than to continue practicing such hypocrisy. v10
1. Better there were no religion at all than a religion that fails to give God the very best.
2. If our concept of God is so low that we think He's pleased with cheap half- hearted worship, then we don't know the God of the Bible.
3. In fact a God who encourages us to do less than our best is a God who isn't worthy of worship.
II. The Problem was Really Their Attitude.
A. There was no question concerning what God expected.
1. God’s Word was very clear in this point as we have seen.
2. “But whatsoever hath a blemish, that shall ye not offer: for it shall not be acceptable for you.” (Lev 22:20)
3. As a very wise man once said, “It isn’t how much I don’t know about the Bible that bothers me. It is how much I know!”
"And Samuel said, Hath 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 hearken than the fat of rams.” (1 Sam 15:22)
“Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.” (James 4:17)
B. They had grown weary with honoring God. v13
1. “Weariness” = trouble or hardship
2. They had decided that it was just too difficult to obey the Lord in this matter.
3. God was just asking too much!
4. Their attitude was that God should be satisfied with what they offered to Him.
C. They “snuffed at” God’s expectations. v13
1. That is a phrase that we may not be real familiar with, but we understand what it means.
2. It means to belittle something with a gesture.
3. What God required was no longer important to them, they made light of it.
D. They were openly dishonest with God. v14
1. It was not a matter of not having the proper sacrifices.
2. A sick animal would die anyway, and crippled animals were useless, so the people might as well give them to the Lord!
3. Even thought they had a healthy animal in their flock, they brought God the ‘corrupt things’. v14
III. God Deserves the Best.
A. Because He is a great King. v14
1. If the governor wouldn’t accept cheap offerings (v8), would a great king accept cheap substitutes?
2. God is a great King and He deserves the best we can bring Him.
3. What we promise, we must perform.
B. Because He gave us His very best.
1. The sacrifice pictured the ultimate offering of Jesus Christ.
2. He was the ‘Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world.’ cf John 1:9
3. Hallmark’s motto is ‘When you care enough to send the very best’.
4. God didn’t send ‘that which was torn, and the lame, and the sick’ He sent His only begotten Son to die in our place.
C. His name is dishonored by His own, not by the heathen. v11; v14b
1. Malachi looked ahead and saw a time when the Gentiles would honor God and offer up proper worship. v11
2. Israel was set aside and the gospel went to the Gentiles.
3. Jesus told the Pharisees that if the people didn’t shout and glorify Him that the rocks would begin to cry out. cf Lk. 19:40
4. Malachi said that even though His own people refused to honor Him, His name would be great among the heathen.
There are just some simple thoughts here in this passage for us this morning.
1) God is a great King and is worthy of our honor and worship.
2) He will not settle for substitutes or less than our best.
3) The choice is ours.
Do we honor Him with our lives? Do we give Him His rightful place? Have we grown weary in obeying Him? Come today and accept Him. Come today and give Him His proper honor in our life.