Friday, June 13, 2014

Sacrifice vs "Sacrifice"

In the book of Malachi, the spiritual condition of post-exilic Israel is once more being discussed. By this time, the Temple has been rebuilt and sacrifices are continuing. However, all is not well with the worship and sacrifices that the Lord is receiving by the hands of the Israelites.

The Israelites are trying to find ways to get away with going through the motions of sacrificing without actually "sacrificing" anything. Providing lambs that are of no use to them whatsoever, they are using the Lord's Temple as a garbage bin.

If they were to pass this off to any man, he would not accept it. If they were to give it to their governor, he would not accept it. So instead they pass it off to God. 

But the Lord is not pleased with this type of "sacrifice." As he says in Malachi 1:6-8, as the great King of Israel and the Lord of all the earth, he deserves more than the governors of the land, not less. 
"A son honoureth his father, and a servant his master: if then I be a father, where is mine honour? and if I be a master, where is my fear? saith the Lord of hosts unto you, O priests, that despise my name. And ye say, Wherein have we despised thy name? Ye offer polluted bread upon mine altar; and ye say, Wherein have we polluted thee? In that ye say, The table of the Lord is contemptible. And if ye offer the blind for sacrifice, is it not evil? and if ye offer the lame and sick, is it not evil? offer it now unto thy governor; will he be pleased with thee, or accept thy person? saith the Lord of hosts."

If you were to take the devotion that you present to the Lord, and present it instead to say, your father (it is Father's Day this Sunday after all), would he be pleased with your actions? Would he acknowledge that you had done well, or would he know you were just using him as a dumping post?

Better yet, whom do your actions show you respect more: your earthy authorities or your God?  Whom do you spend more time pleasing: your earthly authorities or God? For whom do you sacrifice your interests: your earthly authorities or God?

If your answer is your earthly authorities, remember this, the solution is not to respect your earthly authorities less, it is to respect God more. He is a Father, where is His honour?

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