Focal Passage: Malachi 1:1-14
How do you perceive God’s love toward you? Is it a superficial love, concerned mostly with your health and wealth, that waivers based on your performance? J.D. Greear corrects this popular notion in his book Gospel: “In Christ, there is nothing I can do that would make You love me more, and nothing I have done that makes You love me less.” God chose to loves us, not what He can get from us. Anything less would not be grace!
Discounting the love of God always hinders our worship. In Malachi’s day Israel’s worship was marked by form without substance, yielding irrelevant sacrifices. How can we call a leftover reject a sacrifice? If we worship God in spirit and truth all of life will be a sacrifice of praise to God, bringing together words and deeds to glorify God. Otherwise He could rightly say to us what Eliza Doolittle sang in My Fair Lady, “Words, words, words, I’m so sick of words … If you’re in love show me.” We offer true, God-honoring worship when we embody Deuteronomy 6:5: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.” When we fail to love God supremely we reveal that our priorities have slipped and someone or something now receives our greatest affection. Jesus warned us of this tendency: “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matthew 6:21).
The closing verses of Malachi 1 tell us what’s ultimately at stake: God’s glory. When our worship becomes carnal, we substitute God’s glory with our own. Nevertheless, God tells us His glory will be great among the nations. No matter how many years we have worshipped God, we must never let His glory diminish. According to an old saying, familiarity breeds contempt. At the very least we must admit that familiarity breeds apathy. If you don’t think so, look at your car. The same car that once was spotless, now contains stains, trash, and enough fast food crumbs to feed a small army. What happened? May that not be true of our walk with the Lord.