Offensive Offerings …
Rebooting the heart …
“Then those who feared the Lord talked with each other, and the Lord listened and heard. A scroll of remembrance was written in His presence concerning those who feared the Lord and honored His name.” (Malachi 3:16)
The book of Malachi – the last book before the New Testament – is a short and powerful word from God. The Lord does not change (Malachi 3:6) and what He sees at that moment of history both angered Him then … and angers Him now.
While frequently used to admonish a congregation or individual to standards of monetary giving – I suspect we miss the point when we limit the message of Malachi to church contributions.
The underlying problem described throughout Malachi is actually a heart issue, although one of the fruits of that issue is an offensive offering. People pouring into the temple with offerings that were blemished … less than the best … because their hearts were not set on honoring or respecting God.
The Lord describes priests who are supposed to be preserving knowledge but are teaching in ways that cause their listeners to stumble. Priests who are not listening to God but rather have gone their own way. Priests who are showing partiality in matters of the law.
The Lord calls out His people on breaking faith with each other. What was true of Judah and Israel is still true today … it is a desecration of the Lord’s sanctuary to intermarry His children with those who worship foreign gods. Are we trying to make God attractive to the masses? Picking up the sway of the culture to make God more acceptable? This choice is a desecration of the temple the Lord loves and creates unacceptable sacrifices.
How about our marriages? Are we remaining faithful? When times are tough … when spouses age or are ill … when someone else looks better? Are we breaking faith?
“So guard yourself in your spirit, and do not break faith.” (Malachi 2:16b)
None of us has lived perfectly now or when this Word was initially given. Does that mean we are doomed? No – the Lord has never left us without hope and a way back to His heart.
So how do we reboot our hearts and recover a heart of reverence for the Lord?
Put down the blemished offerings, walk away from the intermarriage of our hearts with idolatry, and turn back to God. Let the Lord work in our lives with that “refiner’s fire” that cleanses us. Simply bow our hearts and recognize that He alone through Christ can make us righteous … wait for it … ahhhh!
Talk to each other with reverence about the Lord. He is listening. He hears us. He has a scroll of remembrance written with our names as we honor and respect His ways. There is a distinction between the righteous and the wicked.
“But for you who revere My Name, the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its wings.”
May the book of Malachi (4 short chapters) bless our hearts today as we seek to bring an acceptable offering to our Lord.