One Year Bible
Old Testament passage for Monday, December 30, 2013: Malachi 1:1-2:17
6 “A son honors his father, and a servant his master. If then I am the Father, where is My honor? And if I am a Master, where is My reverence? says the Lord of hosts to you priests who despise My name.Yet you say, ‘In what way have we despised Your name?’ Malachi 1:6 (NKJV)
Malachi, the last book of the Old Testament, is a list of questions back and forth between God and Israel.
Israel asks seven questions of God all of which are rather whiny and brash. Here they are:
1. "In what way have You loved us?" (1:2)
2. "In what way have we despised Your Name?" (1:6)
3. "For what reason (should we repent)?" (2:14)
4. "In what way have we wearied Him?" (2:17)
5. "In what way shall we return to You?" (3:7)
6. "In what way have we robbed You?" (3:8)
7. "What have we spoken against You?" (3:13)
One can picture the look of false innocence on the face of a child saying, "I didn't do anything!" "What did I do this time!?" We are all so prone to blind spots and self-justification. We're caught red-handed yet pleading our innocence. That's what Israel did before God.
I am reminded of Proverbs 21:2 which says, "Every man's way is right in his own eyes, but the Lord weighs the heart." Israel was breaking God's law left and right so God had to send them a wake-up call. He responds to Israel's insolence by asking some questions of His own.
Israel was offering second best to God. They gave sacrifices that were lame, blind, and sick (1:8). They laid defiled food on the altar (1:7). They had an understanding of grace that made room for sin and sloppiness. In fact, this is a corruption of grace (see Rom. 6:1). True grace empowers us to excellence. It exalts the glory of God. It lifts us to new levels of purity and power.
God asks Israel, "Where is My honor? ... Where is My reverence?" (1:6). He asks us the same thing. Why is it that we are so ready to give Him our worst, but so hesitant to give Him our wealth? We cast on Him our "worst fruits" but begrudgingly give our "first fruits."
Honor is an endangered virtue in our day. We are called to honor God and to honor each other. An atmosphere of honor causes us all to rise to higher places.
As this year ends and a new one begins, resolve today to LIVE TO THE GLORY OF GOD. He has given us His best. He deserves our best.