Summary: "Do not love sleep or you will grow poor; stay awake and you will have food to spare. Proverbs 20:13 NIV.
The text we read, was spoken by Malachi to Israel, a defeated nation. Malachi was God’s last mouthpiece to Israel before the four hundred years of God’s silence to his people.
It is a shame that any people should lower themselves so much that they would put God last in their lives, and especially Israel, for whom God had done so much.
When Israel first became a nation at Mt. Sinal in the wilderness, God gave them a law to live by.
The law said that no sacrifice was to be offered to God unless it was without blemish. No doubt at first, the children of Israel were so conscious of the law and the greatness of God that they did not consider offering anything but the best as a sacrifice. But after a time, some began to say, "What a weariness is it:" and they did not take the time to locate the best sacrifice they could find. Instead, they would try to pick one that was just a little lame, or perhaps one that was sick and would probably die anyway, or possibly one that was too old to be of much value to them. They did not stop to think that if God had not brought them out of Egypt, they would not have had even the poorest of their flocks; they would have been slaves of the Pharoah of that country. Actually all that the children of Israel had, they had received from God.
And then I think of people whom God has delivered from the slavery of sin. When we were first saved, we would not think of missing a church service; we paid our tithes, gave our offerings, prayed for others, fasted for a revival, witnessed to the lost, and willingly did what was asked of us.
Yet I wonder if some of us have not said, "What a weariness is it!"
You see, some of the Israelites came to the place where they were not even ashamed to walk up to the temple leading a lame goat or lamb; and it seems that modern-day Christians is not ashamed to stay home from church or Sunday School and then say, "Oh, I was so weary or tired that I just didn’t feel like I could make it." I fear that many have forgotten Hebrews 10:25, 26, which tells us not to forsake the assembling of our selves together. "For if we sin wilfully...,there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins."
Sometimes we find ourselves giving something to God that is of very little value to us. I have heard some folk, when asked to do something for God, answer, "If I don’t have anything else to do, I will."
What a lame sacrifice that is! God does not want us to work for Him only when we have time, but He wants a sacrifice without blemish.
We should say, "I have something important to do, but it can wait; God must come first."
There are those who pray only when they have completed other duties of the day, but the good sacrifice is to put God first, then do the other duties. Jesus said, "But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you." (Matthew 6:3).
There is also the matter of money. How little most of us sacrifice along this line. Some think that if they have paid their tithes, they have done enough. When we have paid our tithes we have given nothing to God. The first tenth already belongs to God; and when one does not pay this, he is stealing. All above this amount is an offering, and is given to God.