Malachi – A Snapshot of Sagging Worship

Last Saturday, November 13th, I traced, with a class I am teaching at Port Perry Baptist Church (Durham Bible Insititute), a snapshot of worship as the curtain comes down on the Old Covenant.   What was happening in the reconstructed temple?  How had God’s people altered worship patterns which had clearly been given to them in God’s word (the LAW).

Here is a brief sketch of what I would describe as “Sagging Worship.”

Today’s Blog will focus on MALACHI 1

1:1 WORSHIP begins with a COMMUNICATING GOD

God communicates to people through people.   God has His spokesmen (prophets) who are messengers for Him.   Malachi, which means ‘messenger’ had a message from God to deliver.

Praise God for men and women who speak as those speaking the very words of God (I Peter 4:10-12) whenever they are given the privilege of teaching, preaching or sharing.

1:2-5 WORSHIP involves STRUGGLING PEOPLE

God’s attributes of LOVE and WRATH fill this section.   Those loved by God, namely Israel, do not fully grasp God’s love.   God calls His people to observe His activity – His judgment and His favour and then respond to Him with praise.   Worship is not geographically restricted.   God intended His work to be seen throughout the world.  The LORD Almighty (the LORD of hosts) is not a ‘national’ God – He is  to be known in other nations and He rules over the entire earth.

We may wrestle with grasping God’s love.   We too are called to observe God’s work in our own lives and the lives of others.   Though we live ‘beyond the borders of Israel’ we too may declare God’s greatness.

1:6-14  WORSHIP demands the HONORING of GOD with only the BEST of what we have to offer.

It is natural for a son to honor his father and a servant his master.  God is amazed that His people do not show the honor or respect due His great name.    Even the priests, the leaders in worship, were showing contempt for God.    This was evidenced by second-rate offerings, with second-class sacrifices rather than sacrifices without blemish or spot.  God’s preference was for His people to cease their worship and declares His name will acquire great fame in other nations, even when His own people do not honor Him as they should.

Does familiarity breed contempt in worship?  Can we speak of ‘holy things’ in too familiar a manner?   Are we mystified by God’s accusation of us?  Do we think God does not know all things and is not aware of who we are and what we are doing as we come to worship?    We are called to “Give of our best to the Master….”

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