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Summary: Have you truly sacrificed the totality of your own life on God’s altar, committing to Him everything you have and everything you are... or are you giving Him your crumbs, your leftovers, hoping that it pleases Him?

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Please turn in your Bibles to the book of Malachi, which is the last book in the Old Testament. If you find Matthew and then go back a few pages, you’ll be in Malachi. After God reveals His Word through the prophet Malachi, He is then silent for roughly 400 years until the events described in the Gospels begin to unfold.

Let's read Malachi 1:6-14...

I. BICKERING

Malachi reveals a conflict marked by the bickering voices of God’s chosen people on one side, and the stern warnings of a holy and righteous God on the other. Have you ever complained or bickered with your parents? Of course, as children, we’re always right and our parents are always wrong! As a parent on the receiving end, it can be a frustrating experience. In Malachi, we see the people bickering and arguing with Almighty God! Look again at verses 6, 7, and 13...

1:6 Yet you say, ‘In what way have we despised Your name?’

1:7 You offer defiled food on My altar, but say, ‘In what way have we defiled You?’

1:13 You also say, ‘Oh, what a weariness!’ and you sneer at it.

I can just imagine the rolling of the eyes on that one, can’t you? The people had developed their own faulty attitudes and opinions of WHO GOD IS, and on the PURPOSE OF WORSHIP. Let’s look at the last part of verse 14…

14b “For I am a great King,” says the Lord of hosts, “And My name is to be feared among the nations.”

God is holy and righteous, a mighty King, whose name is to be feared! The people had somehow, in the comfort of the familiar, lost their focus on who God is. They got caught up in themselves and the *rituals* of worship, and lost sight on the *purpose* of their worship. Their attitudes toward God and toward worship had strayed far, I mean really far, from the commandment in Deuteronomy 6:5

“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength.”

They began to bicker or argue with God. They adopted an attitude that they were somehow more righteous and more holy than God himself, and God had it all wrong! When confronted with their offensive attitudes and actions, they were in essence saying to God, “Are you talking to me? Surely, you’re not talking about me! I’m doing just fine!” They refused to hear from God. They refused to believe they could be wrong. They refused to swallow their pride and turn back to God in repentance.

It’s easy to point fingers at these hypocritical religious people and say, “Wow…They just didn’t get it, did they?” But what about us? What is *our* attitude toward God and toward worship? Are we holding on to our arrogance and pride instead of listening to the Holy Spirit?

Anyone who claims to be a Christian is being watched with great scrutiny. Our attitude toward God and toward worship has an impact on others. Our attitude will either cause others to stumble or will draw them closer to God. Keep in mind that according to 1 Peter 2:9, we as believers in Jesus Christ are now the royal priesthood…

9 But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.

Did you catch that last part? Instead of an attitude of bickering, God will be honored and revered when we proclaim His praises! Let's go back and take another look at Malachi 1:11

11 “For from the rising of the sun, even to its going down, My name shall be great among the Gentiles; in every place incense shall be offered to My name, and a pure offering; for My name shall be great among the nations,” says the Lord of hosts.

Bickering voices “ain’t gonna cut it” in the life of a believer! Our purpose is to proclaim God’s praises, because His name shall be great among the nations!

II. BURDENSOME

Let’s now take a look at a second characteristic of their worship. As we see in the text from chapter 1, the worship of the one true God had become burdensome…

13a “You also say, ‘Oh, what a weariness!’ and you sneer at it,” says the Lord of hosts.

Their worship had become an empty ritual that they engaged in more to maintain tradition than to please a holy and righteous God. It was being done out of *obligation* instead of being done out of *love*. Have you ever asked your children to do the dishes, and you get a little “attitude” in return? Oh, the dishes eventually get done, but they did the absolute minimum to meet their obligation. What? They didn’t do it with a cheerful attitude full of love and gratefulness to you as their parent? Does this sound familiar to anyone? Keep that kind of attitude in mind, but now scale it up into the priests’ attitude toward their worship of God. It was bad enough that the people of God had lost their first love. What made it worse was that they actually thought their religious performance was acceptable to Him!

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