“It's up to the individual to do the best he or she can with what's available.”
--Mel Odom (Matamoros Bull)
"'Cursed is the cheat who promises to give a fine ram from his flock but then sacrifices a defective one to the Lord. For I am a great king,' says the LORD Almighty, 'and my name is feared among the nations!'"
--Malachi 1:14 (NLT)
Perhaps it is time for this to happen--the doors of the church should be nailed shut. What?!! I'm just reading a New Testament version of Malachi 1:10.
"I wish one of you would shut the temple doors, so you would no longer kindle a useless fire on My altar! I am not pleased with you," says the LORD of Hosts, "and I will accept no offering from your hands."
--Malachi 1:10 (HCSB)
The priests were teaching and accepting second-rate worship. The people began a ho-hum type of worship, or a false worship doing only what they felt like, there was no whole-hearted worship among the people.
First of all, the people were allowed to bring less than their best to the altar for sacrifice. Blemished, crippled, maimed lambs were acceptable. My isn't that seen in our churches today. Come as you are, don't worry you're only meeting and sacrificing to the King of Kings. It doesn't matter how you do it. This goes along with the concept that only the music is worship when in fact, the whole service should be seen as worship. Sure the singing, but also the preaching, the fellowship, and even the offering. There is much truth to what Warren Wiersbe says, "Our offering to God are an indication of what's in our hearts." And let me interpret offerings of being more than money, but also our presence. time, and attention.
"Worship, properly conducted, is an expression of lives in the knowledge of God in relationship with God. Worship is ordered into particular forms so that this
knowledge of God may be given full and rich expression in the lives of the people."
--Peter C. Craigie
"You do not honor the Lord by second-rate worship! You do not honor the Lord by fitting Him into your schedule. And you do not honor the Lord by confessing
to live sacrificially before Him when in fact there is no sacrifice whatsoever."
--D. Stuart Briscoe
Wow, the words of God to the prophet Malachi should be read and taken to heart in this hour in which we live. Do we really worship in spirit and in truth? Do we present our bodies as a living sacrifice and let me add, are they blemished? If so, then go back to the cross and get them washed by the blood of the Lamb. The Lord says try and offer an unworthy sacrifice or give an unworthy gift to the governor and see what will happen (Malachi 1:8)
Not only were these people offering sacrifices that we contemptible and the prophet says that because of that they were holding the worship of Almighty God in contempt. A contemptible offering shows that they think the whole thing of worshiping God is contemptible. These people were weary in their worship, they didn't even want to come to the place of worship, much less get involved in true worship.
Maybe even worse, the audacity of the people was apparent. They actually believed that they deserved God's blessing and expected it when they held the worship of God in contempt or apathy. Excuses were made, rationalization was made. They believed that the Lord accepts them just as they are. Now that is true in the sense of salvation, but once saved we are to work out our salvation, we are to grow in grace. We no longer come to Him as strangers, but now as children, and therefore we owe our Father due respect. Matthew Henry wrote, "Corrupt practices are the fruit of corrupt principles; and he who is false to his God, will not be true to his fellow mortals."
God expects our best--in fact, part of true worship is giving our best in everything we do as unto the Lord (Colossians 3:17, 23). We are not to be satisfied with "good enough." Our worship, in whatever form, should never be just "good enough." It should be to the best of our ability. "A God who encourages us to do less than our best is a God who isn't worthy of worship" (Warren W. Wiersbe). So examine your worship. Look at your temple (your are the temple of the Holy Spirit) and do some cleaning if needed. Truly one of the best ways to worship is with our lives. How we deal with difficulties, problems, obstacles show our relationship with the Lord. Is it one of defeat, bitterness, or hatred, or one of praise to the Lord who is able to keep us?