Summary: David responds, "I will not offer burnt offerings to the Lord my God which cost me nothing."
ACCEPTING THE TRUTH
Malachi 1:1-14 Text v.10-14
In an age that has grown lax, and consciences that have become dry, Malachi here rings out a warning, unchanged by peoples criticism or sarcasm. The people of his time were not irreligious i.e they were not (indifferent or hostile to religion, or having no religious beliefs) they went to church, sung in the choir,gave offerings,were well dressed, etc. as a matter of fact they were so religious that they thought they had it going on. But their situation was worser than that. They were playing at religion, they thought they were playing God.
We may be able to fool others with the games we play, but God is never fooled. He not only knows what we do in secret, he knows what what we think in our heart.
They made no conscience effort that the things they were doing for themselves or for God was wrong, as long as they kept up some kind of religious form.
They were spending enormous sums upon their own selfish pleasures, and offering their left overs to the worship and the service of God. They didn't think what they were doing was wrong; or if they ever did think about it, they did not recognize the shabbiness of their conduct, or have the saving grace to admit that it was true.
Malachi says," 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. Malachi 1:7-8
The priests were offering defiled sacrifices on the altar. The word “food” (v. 12) refers to the sacrifices provided in the Law of Moses (Lev. 1–7). These animals had to be perfect; nothing imperfect could be brought to the altar of God and accepted (Lev. 22:17–33; Deut. 15:19–23).
In short, the priests were permitting the people to bring God less than their best. If they had offered these defective beasts to their governor, he would have rejected them, but the people presumed the animals were good enough for the Lord. Malachi 1:6
These were the circumstances that gave rise to the prophets remark. See, Israel’s priests were bringing lame, blind, blemished animals for sacrifice; animals that had little, if any, market value to God. They were giving God in essence the left overs of their belongings.
They were offering Him the live stock which they couldn't use at their own table. This is why he says Offer it to your governor and see if he will be pleased with you, see if he will accept it? saith the Lord of hosts. Malachi says, If you were anxious to secure the favor of some highly respected official, would you give sufficient attention to the Creator of all things?
Our offerings to God are an indication of what’s in our hearts, for “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matt. 6:21). People who claim to love the Lord and His work can easily prove it with their checkbooks! Giving is a grace (2 Cor. 8:1–15), and if we’ve experienced the grace of God, we’ll have no problem giving generously to the Lord who has given so much to us.
Israel had lowered their standard of worship, they were excited about the worship. But God, however, wasn’t impressed.
Sacrificing lambs and spilling their blood i can imagine was a messy situation. But they had forgotten that the sacrificial system was God’s way of dealing with their sin so he could give them the provisions of his covenant. They were despising that which was the source of their life and blessing!
Malachi told these disobedient priests that closing the doors of the temple and stopping the sacrifices altogether would be better than to continue practicing such hypocrisy. Better to have no religion at all than a religion that fails to give God the very best. If our concept of God is so low that we think he’s pleased with cheap halfhearted worship, then we don’t know the God of the Bible. In fact, a god who encourages us to do less than our best is a god who isn’t worthy of our worship or praise.
Malachi 1:10 says, Oh that there were one among you who would shut the doors, that you might not kindle fire on my altar in vain! I have no pleasure in you, says the LORD of hosts, and I will not accept an offering from your hand. ESV
There is a Hebrew word behind that phrase "in vain" that carries a lot of weight. The word is hinam. It is used, for example, in 2 Samuel 24:24 in a way very similar to this verse, but the translation is much fuller. David was trying to avert a plague. To do so he needed a place to build an altar to offer sacrifices to the Lord. The threshing floor of Araunah was in the right place and Araunah offered the threshing floor and animals to David for nothing.