How Do You Treat God? Malachi 1: 6-2: 9

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How Do You Treat God?
Malachi 1:6-2:9
Several years ago when I worked at the fire department in Clovis I was sitting talking with one of the guys I worked with…it was just a few days after Christmas…and in the conversation I asked him what he got for Christmas.

  • And immediately, I saw tears gather in his eyes.

  • And he told me he said, “I don’t know what to think.”

He said, “My wife went out…and she bought our dog a new doghouse. She bought our dog some new toys…and she bought our dog a sweater.”

  • “But she only bought me a shirt. That’s all I got.”

  • “I spent $500 dollars on her…she spent $200 dollars on the dog…and she only spent $25 on me.”

  • “What do you think she is trying to tell me?”

AS He told me this I could tell he was hurt…disappointed…frustrated…and heart broke.

Kind of sad isn’t it…and we might be thinking…how could she do that? We would never do that to anyone.
Well, I tell you that story because that is much the same thing that was happening here in Malachi…and what we need to understand is, not only can we do that to God…we may be doing that to God.
Lets look at this passage and as we do, lets evaluate “How we treat our God.”
Look at verse 6. Now, here is the background.

  • These people had been in captivity in Babylon…but God delivered them from that captivity…and through God’s divine workings…they were allowed to come back to Jerusalem and rebuild the temple…and the walls of the city.

  • But when they finished the city walls and the temple…the became indifferent.

  • Indifferent toward God…and they began to be distracted by other things.

So God, through Malachi speaks to the people…and starting in verse 6 He speaks specifically to the priests…and notice what He says.

6 "'A son honors his father, and a servant his master. Then if I am a father, where is My honor? And if I am a master, where is My respect?' says the LORD of hosts to you, O priests who despise My name.”
But you say, “How have we despised Thy name?” How have we not honored you?
Well, look at verse 7:

7 "You are presenting defiled food upon My altar. But you say, 'How have we defiled Thee?' In that you say, 'The table of the LORD is to be despised.' 8 "But when you present the blind for sacrifice, is it not evil? And when you present the lame and sick, is it not evil? Why not offer it to your governor? Would he be pleased with you? Or would he receive you kindly?" says the LORD of hosts.
God says, “You are dishonoring me with your second rate offerings.”

  • You are giving me things you know that you shouldn’t be doing.

  • YOu are giving me your lame…and your blind…and your diseased.

  • You are not honoring Me!

And notice in verse 6 there where God says, “Where is my honor?”

  • That word in the Hebrew literally has the idea behind it of giving “weight” to something.

  • And God wants to know, “when are you going to treat me like I am a heavy.”

  • I am not just some light weight god…or some light weight king.”

  • I am God.”

And notice something…several times in this passage God refers to Himself as “the Lord of Hosts.”

  • That name “Lord of Hosts” is the Hebrew Jehovah Sabbaoth…and the Jews understood what that meant.

  • It was a name that indicated that God was Lord of all the armies of the angels in heaven.

  • And what He is saying here is: “Why should I, the leader of the armies of the angels…accept your second rate offerings?”

  • Don’t I deserve better than that?

In fact, God says in verse 8, “You give it to your governor…give it to Nehemiah…and see how he likes it?

  • YOu wouldn’t even think about giving it to him…and yet you give it to Me?”

God didn’t want their second rate offerings…but understand this.

  • I don’t believe that God was so much concerned about the shape of the sheep that was being given to Him.

  • I think he was more alarmed about the fact that the people didn’t honor Him in the way he deserved.

  • Everything they were doing was saying, “God, we don’t respect you any more.”

Look at this:

Here is my Quarterly income tax bill…I have to pay this every 3 months.

  • Now, this is just an estimate…but the IRS wants me to send them just a little over $2300.

But let me tell you what I am going to do…I have my check book here…and I am going to only right them a check for $1100…just a little less than half.

  • Now, let me tell you why I am doing that.

First of all, I don’t think the IRS will even notice…they won’t even notice that I am only giving them half of what they want.

  • Second, I don’t think they really care.

  • And third…even if they care…they won’t do anything about it.

How many of you sitting here are thinking…”YOu poor misguided soul!”

  • Every one of us knows that what I am saying is wrong…don’t we.

  • We know…that the IRS will notice.

  • WE know that they care.

  • And we know that you better give to the IRS what he IRS wants!

  • You better not mess around.

YOu see, we have that much respect for and fear of the IRS.

  • We wouldn’t short them or cheat them in any way.

Do we have the same respect and fear for God?

When you teach a Bible class to our children…are you giving the very best you can give them…or is it something you throw together at the last minute?…after all, they are just kids and you can fake them through anything.

  • You agree to work in some effort here…maybe visitation…or ladies Bible class…or our outreach program. Do you give it the best you can give…or do you do the minimum required?

  • When you come into worship…and you offer up your songs of praise…do you just mumble the words…would you rather be somewhere else…or do you really offer up the best your heart has to give?

Do we see how little and how second rate we can get by with when we give to the Lord?

  • Because what Malachi is saying is, “the Lord of Hosts” is not honored by leftovers.

Look at the second thing that God says here that was disappointing and frustrating and heart breaking to Him. Look at verse 13.

13 "You also say, 'My, how tiresome it is!'
These priests were acting like service in the temple was a tiresome duty rather than an awesome privilege.

  • They were complaining about everything.

  • “The food is contemptible…we have to show up every day to do the offerings…this is a real burden.”

They were going through the motions of worship but it was with a “have to” attitude rather than a “want to attitude.”

No wonder he says in verse 10, “ I wish someone would just shut the doors.”
Do you ever act like it is a burden to worship and serve God?

  • Do we have to go to church on Sunday nights?

  • Do I have to lead singing again?

  • Why do I have to make the announcements?

  • Can’t you get someone else to lead the prayer…serve on the table?

If that is the way you feel…if that is what you are doing…then you don’t need to lead singing and you don’t need to make the announcements…because God isn’t pleased with it anyway.

  • He does not want you to do anything that you do not willingly and lovingly want to do.

Now, look at chapter 2 and verse 8. Look what these priests were doing?

8 "But as for you, you have turned aside from the way; you have caused many to stumble by the instruction; you have corrupted the covenant of Levi," says the LORD of hosts. 9 "So I also have made you despised and abased before all the people, just as you are not keeping My ways, but are showing partiality in the instruction.


God was dishonored by their watered down teaching.

  • He says the lips of a priest ought to preserve knowledge and from his mouth men should seek instruction…but your instruction has caused many to stumble.

Why were people bringing blemished offerings to the temple in the first place?

  • The reason they were is because they knew the priests would accept it.

The priests had watered down the holy standards of God in order to be more popular with the people.
What a temptation that is.

  • When there are things to say and things to teach that are not politically correct and they make people uncomfortable, what a temptation it is to water it down so that more people will be pleased.

  • Maybe that is what is happening in many of our churches today.

  • Have to tone everything down…round it off…make it more acceptable.

Do you know how God feels about all of this?

Look at verse 1-3 of chapter 2.

Mal 2:2-4

If you do not listen, and if you do not take it to heart to give honor to My name," says the LORD of hosts, "then I will send the curse upon you, and I will curse your blessings; and indeed, I have cursed them already, because you are not taking it to heart. 3 "Behold, I am going to rebuke your offspring, and I will spread refuse on your faces, the refuse of your feasts; and you will be taken away with it.

Obviously, God is not pleased when we do not give him the honor He deserves…when we are not sincere in what we do…when we act like it is a burden to serve and worship Him.
God was pretty disgusted with these people so notice what He says in verse 11 of chapter 1.

11 "For from the rising of the sun, even to its setting, My name will be great among the nations, and in every place incense is going to be offered to My name, and a grain offering that is pure; for My name will be great among the nations," says the LORD of hosts.


Now, verse 12:

Mal 1:12-13

12 "But you are profaning it…”
God says, there is coming a day when His name will be great among the nations…and in every place incense is going to be offered to My name.”

  • He says, A day is coming when I will be honored for who I am.”

But it is not going to be these people who do it.
Guess who it is?

Turn to 1 Peter 2: 4:

4 And coming to Him as to a living stone, rejected by men, but choice and precious in the sight of God, 5 you also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house for a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.

1 Peter 2:9-10

9 But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God's own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; 10 for you once were not a people, but now you are the people of God; you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.

This is just exactly what God said he would do.

What kind of priest are you?

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