To recapture – the period was post-exilic – Jews returned from the Babylonian captivity – the temple and the city walls were rebuilt - once again animal sacrifices at the temple altar were resumed.
Outwardly everything seemed normal but Malachi noticed something was not right.
He observed all ritual but no reverence.
In these few verses Malachi addresses a major problem – priests and people have no reverence and honor for God – they offered lack luster approach to worship.
GOD’S PEOPLE LOST REVERENCE (6-9)
A. No Real Relationship (6a)
Our God is a relational being – HE is our Heavenly Father – HE is also a Sovereign King.
One important aspect of worship the Jews forgot that God is Holy.
Holy God demands love, honor and respect from His children like the earthly parents.
Holy God also demands obedience of a servant.
John Piper describes this relationship saying that “we must hold these truths in tension.
We should have a childlike security in His care for us and we should have a childlike reverence for His authority. God deserves to be honored because He is holy”
Malachi encourages us to re-examine our relationship with the Lord Almighty.
Lord Almighty means God who created everything – He is eternal – an unchanging God - He is the One who always was and who always will be.
B. Meaningless Worship (6b-9)
Contempt is opposite of reverence, respect and admiration.
Here Malachi putting the priests on the spot for their contempt for God’s Name.
‘My Name’ represents God’s reputation and character.
Their contempt was shown in offering defiled food on God’s altar.
In Leviticus, Moses clearly instructs Israel to offer acceptable animals without blemish.
The priests were accepting not only the second best but also defective sheep and goats.
They were offering such animals worth nothing and even not for selling in the market.
The priests never objected such animals but accepted for sacrifice.
That showed their disdain or contempt for God and His worship.
In their eyes a holy and awesome God is just ordinary and nothing.
Simply they were taking God for granted.
Many people are not giving God their best but bring the left overs.
The offering reflected their casual approach to worship and it became just a meaningless ritual.
HOLY GOD DEMANDS TRUE WORSHIP (10-14)
In Verse 10 the Lord says He would shut the temple doors to prevent useless fires on the altar and pathetic animals for sacrifice.
Priests and people never counted it a privilege to worship God but felt burdensome.
It felt like a monotonous ritual rather than an opportunity to meet God.
Today the Lord is reminding us once again how we worship Him on Sunday morning.
Worship becomes boring and dis-interesting if our hearts are not in the worship.
Then worship turns out to be a meaningless ritual and meaningless worship.
Are we giving God our best with our time, talents, and our treasures?
Or are we giving God what is left instead of what is right?
We must grasp His greatness in order to offer our best in worship.
We will never play church if we really acknowledge that our God is Holy and great.
We will give our best always for what the Lord Jesus has done for us on the cross.