Summary: Malachi #2
Giving God Your Best
After listening restlessly to a long and rather tedious sermon, a 6-year-old boy asked his father what the preacher did the rest of the week. “Oh, he’s a very busy man,” his dad replied. “He takes care of church business, visits the sick, works on his sermon, counsels people…and then he has to have time to rest up because speaking in public isn’t an easy job.” The boy thought for a moment and said, “Well, listening ain’t easy, either!”
Why are some of you nodding your heads?
It isn’t easy to listen, is it? Especially when it’s something that we don’t really want to hear, right?
I want to acknowledge those of you who have taken the time to read through this short book of Malachi this past week. If you haven’t been able to do it yet, I encourage you to read these 4 chapters at least once a week.
Let me remind you of the situation that Malachi is addressing.
The Jews have returned to their land after living in modern-day Iraq for 70 years. The Temple has been rebuilt and the worship of God has been reestablished. But things are not easy.
While outwardly everything seems OK, on the inside there was a cancer of complacency is eating away at their commitment.
As God’s final spokesman at the end of the Old Testament, Malachi comes on the scene to challenge them, and us, to give God our best.
And, as we’re going to see this morning, part of God’s program for our spiritual progress is that God longs for us to give Him our best. What we will discover this morning is this:
“Since God is so great, He deserves our very best”
Let’s focus on 3 ways we can give God our best:
1. EMBRACE AN AUTHENTIC FAITH (vv. 6-7) [Repeat]
What we see right away in verse 6 of chapter 1 is that there are two sides to the Father’s love:
One side is tender and the other a bit tougher.
God is relational in His giving, but He is also resplendent in His glory!
And, as such, we must honor Him. [Read verse 6]
John Piper argues that we must hold these truths in tension.
We should have a childlike security in His care for us and
we should have a childlike reverence for His authority.
God refers to Himself as the Father of Israel in Exodus 4:22: “This is what the LORD says: Israel is my firstborn son.”
And, in Exodus 20:12, He tells us to, “Honor your father and your mother…”
To “honor” someone is to consider them weighty or heavy.
God deserves to be honored because He is holy!
I want you to notice the phrase, “Lord Almighty.”
“Lord” is the name “Yahweh” and was too holy to be spoken by human lips. In fact, it was so respected and honored that it was only pronounced once a year on the Day of Atonement, and then only by the high priest in the most holy place of the Temple.
If the name needed to be written, the scribes would take a bath before writing it and then destroy the pen afterward.
That’s how seriously they took the name “Yahweh.”
While “Yahweh” is difficult to define, this name refers to the fact that God is who He is.
He’s the one who causes everything else.
He is unchanging.
He is the One who inhabits eternity.
He is the One who always was and who always will be!
The title “Almighty” is the word “hosts” and means a huge number of armies. The Lord Almighty has all the hosts of heaven ready to do His work because He has infinite authority in the universe! 7 times in these nine verses alone we’re looking at this morning & 23 times in the whole book, God calls Himself, “The Lord Almighty.” Let’s look at them beginning with v. 6 again...
Verse 6: “If I am a master, where is the respect due me? says the LORD Almighty.”
Verse 8: “Would he accept you? says the LORD Almighty.”
Verse 9: “Will he accept you? says the LORD Almighty.”
Verse 10: “I am not pleased with you, says the LORD Almighty.”
Verse 11: “My name will be great among the nations, says the LORD Almighty.”
Verse 13: “You sniff at it contemptuously, says the LORD Almighty.”
Verse 14: “For I am a great king, says the LORD Almighty.”
Now, during the first half of verse 6, the priests are probably saying,
“Amen, that’s right God. Bring it on. Let the people have it.”
But notice the second half of the verse: “It is you, O priests, who show contempt for my name.”
Ouch! Now it’s time for them to listen!