Summary: In the Book of Malachi we see Israelites dishonoring the Lord by offering animals as sacrifices that they would cull out of their herds and flocks. We also see priests dishonoring the Lord by actually offering these detestable non-sacrifices. Do we offer the Lord our best or our worst?
(This sermon is a shorter sermon due to being delivered via Facebook/Live during the Covid-19 shutdown)
Today we will be reading from Malachi 1:6-14
If you would like to turn to that passage in your Bibles …
(Explain where it is found)
It is important to know what the situation was like when Malachi was written …
(Explain each point briefly and modify the list as you desire)
General history of Israel …
- The Flood
- Yahweh - The LORD chose Abraham
- Yahweh - The LORD chose Jacob and rejected Esau
- Jacob became the nation of Israel - Esau became the nation of Edom (mortal enemies)
- Israel BELONGS to Yahweh, the LORD
- A famine is coming - God protects Israel in Egypt
- The people of Israel become numerous - Egypt enslaves Israel
- Moses …
- Yahweh, The LORD, sends Moses to Egypt with a message; “Let MY people go!”
- The 10 plagues - the Red Sea - pillar of cloud and fire
- Forty years in the wilderness due to disobedience
o The Lord provides for Israel
o The LORD almost destroys Israel due to rebellion
- Moses dies - Joshua leads Israel into the promised land
- Joshua dies - time of the Judges
o Each man did what was right in his own eyes
- Israel wants a king - so “they can be like other nations”
- Saul, David, Solomon followed by civil war and divided nation
- Northern kingdom turns completely pagan - they abandon Yahweh the God of Israel and worship the idol gods of other nations
o God delivers them into exile at the hand of the Assyrians
- Southern Kingdom of Judah
o Several good kings (worshipped God alone)
o Lots of bad kings (abandoned and worshiped idols)
o Taken into captivity by Babylon (for 70 years)
o First Temple in Jerusalem is looted and destroyed
o Babylon defeated by Medo-Persian empire
- Cyrus, the king of Persia, allows the exiled Jews to return to Judah if they wish (after 70 years)
o Jerusalem is rebuilt
o The second Temple is built
o Judah surrounded by enemies
- This is the timeframe of Malachi
Read Malachi 1:6-14
(Prayer for help in today’s message)
(Summary of Malachi 1:1-5)
- God has sovereignly chosen Israel as His nation
So what is it we are seeing here?
One of God’s attributes is omniscience which means He knows everything.
And because Yahweh, the LORD, knows everything He instructs Malachi to write:
“It is you priests who show contempt for My name.
“But you ask, ‘How have we shown contempt for Your name?’
“By offering defiled food on My altar.
“But you ask, ‘How have we defiled You?’
You see, the Lord knows!
If you think that He doesn’t know then think again!
You see, most of this remnant of Israel believes that God has abandoned them because they are not living in the prosperity He has promised to those who are faithful to Him.
At this point they don’t dare to worship the gods of the surrounding nations because they don’t want to go into exile again. But, their heart is certainly NOT in their worship of God. They are only going through the motions of worship and sacrifice and muttering about it at the same time.
What were they SUPPOSED to bring to the LORD as a sacrifice?
For various sins there were various animals that were required to be sacrificed. And, even though there were various sacrificial animals one requirement was the same for all of them.
They must be without defect!
This was an invariable requirement; the sacrifice must be WITHOUT DEFECT - PERFECT!!!
But what are we seeing here?
They are bringing blind, lame and diseased animals for their sacrifices! The sacrifice they are bringing so that their sins may be forgiven are sins in themselves because instead of bringing their best to the Lord they are bringing animals that they don’t even want in their herds or flocks!!!!
Not that the animals themselves are sinful but the people bringing the worthless animals are committing a sin. Their actions are saying that the Lord is not worthy of their best offerings. Instead they will bring the worthless animal as an offering and present it to Him.
Also at fault are the priests who should have refused to sacrifice the defective animals. They knew better. They should have defended the honor and the glory and the Name of the Lord, but, they didn’t care.
The whole situation was just a mess!
They knew the commandment that was established even before the law was given?
What was the commandment that was came before the ceremonial law of sacrifices?
It was, “Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.” found in Deuteronomy 6:5