If someone was to describe your Christian walk, would they use words like: “devoted, excellent or dedicated?” These descriptors are the very essence of what it means to be a Christian. As a Christian, we should have one singular focus; to bring glory to His name in whatever context God has placed us. This is true worship.
We worship something when we give it worth and we all worship many things. However, the only meaningful and appropriate object of our worship should be the creator and sustainer of all things. John Calvin said, “The heart is an Idol factory”. We constantly attach god-like value to created things, and this is idolatry.
In Malachi 1:6, God begins his complaint against the priests by asking why they do not honor Him or fear Him. There was no honor shown by the priests, because there was no understanding of who God is. Reverential fear, or respect for the Lord, comes from knowing Him.
God uses the name “Lord of Hosts” a total of 7 times in these 9 verses. The Hebrew name is Jehovah Sabaoth, found 260 times in the Old Testament, and is a name referencing God as the supreme leader of the angels and armies of the Lord. The Lord of all power and might. As humanism has crept into the church, we have lost a reverence and awe for the almighty God (Hebrews 12:28-29).
God continues in verse 6, and says to the priests, “you despise my name…”. To despise something means to have an attitude of ongoing disrespect. God was in essence saying, “you don’t value me”. God points them to two ways in which they are despising His name.
- The Priests despise God’s name in their contributions.
The animals that they are offering as sacrifices are blind and lame. The sacrificial animals were supposed to be pure and spotless, but they were giving their leftovers, thus despising the name of God.
We do the same today by giving God the leftover time, energy and resources of our lives. We know that we cannot earn merit with God and are saved by Grace, but by giving God the leftovers of our time, we are despising the name of God. God looks at the heart, and as we come to worship Him, He knows the condition of our hearts. As Christians we must give ourselves completely to Him, giving the first fruits of our time and our resources.
Whenever we give to the Lord something that is convenient, we are giving out of our excess, meaning that we are giving our leftovers to God. We don’t miss something that is leftover. This applies to time, money, possessions and skills. Are you honoring God with your contributions?
It has been said, “if there is no sacrifice in your sacrifice, it’s not a sacrifice”
- Israel priests despised God’s name in their commitment.
The priests were going through the rituals and they were getting bored (Malachi 1:13). Their attitude to worship had become listless and apathetic. They were just checking the boxes of worship, wanting to get their job done so that they could go home and put their feet up.
When God looks at us, what does he see?
You can fool everyone around you, but God knows your commitment and the condition of your heart. God is looking for committed followers.
When challenged by Malachi, the priests seemed confused. Apparently, they had deluded themselves into thinking that when it came to worship or offerings, something was better than nothing, lukewarm was better than cold. Remember what Jesus said to the church in Laodicea in Rev. 3:15–16, it is dangerous to be lukewarm.
Matthew Henry wrote, ‘Nothing profanes the name of God more than the misconduct of those whose business it is to do honor to it.’ Worship is so much more than words, it is an attitude of the heart. Our attitude is directly related to our view of God and our relationship with God.
Five ways that we offer worship to God:
- We worship with our bodies – Romans 12:1. We are the temple of the Holy Spirit, we need to look after our bodies so that we can use our energy and strength to serve the Lord. We worship God by using our bodies to bring glory to His name.
- We worship with our finances – The apostle Paul writing to the Philippian church, thanked them for the gift they sent to support his ministry (Philippians 4:18b). Giving money to a ministry or church is never a horizontal transaction of simply paying a bill, it is a vertical offering to God. God invites us to worship Him as we sacrificially give to His work.
- We worship God with our praises – (Hebrews 13:15) Our singing the praises of God is an act of sacrifice and worship. Whenever we are tempted to refrain from singing in worship, we must remember who it is we are worshipping.
- We worship God with our good works – (Hebrews 13:16) Serving others is an act of worship. When we don’t have the time to volunteer or help, but we do it anyway because we are doing it unto the Lord, we show that we are trusting that He will redeem the time. That is worship.
- We worship God when we share the Gospel – (Romans 15:16) As we share the Gospel and see new believers coming into the Body of Christ, we glorify God. Jesus said in Luke 15 that when people come to know the Lord, it is a time of praise and worship in heaven and it brings Glory to God here on the earth. The greatest miracle is a life transformed by the saving power of the Gospel. We worship God by telling His story.
May we be people who worship God with all that we have. Praising God with our lives, our finances, our time, and our relationships.
Are you worshipping God with your leftovers? Which area(s) of your life is not fully committed to Christ?
God is calling us to be dedicated and devoted followers of Jesus, because He is worthy of it all.