“When you offer blind animals in sacrifice, is that not evil? And when you offer those that are lame or sick, is that not evil? Present that to your governor; will he accept you or show you favor? says the Lord of hosts. And now entreat the favor of God, that he may be gracious to us. With such a gift from your hand, will he show favor to any of you? says the Lord of hosts” (Malachi 1:8-9, ESV).
What’s the problem with offering lame or sick animals as a sacrifice? After all, they’re killed and eaten anyway. Deuteronomy 15:21 declared that blemished animals can’t be used for sacrifice to God: “But if it has any blemish, if it is lame or blind or has any serious blemish whatever, you shall not sacrifice it to the Lord your God.”
Malachi’s ministry was to the repatriated Jews whose families had returned to Judea from Babylonian captivity. In Malachi’s time the people seemed to be indifferent to God. So much so, that they weren’t totally obedient to the law of God.
They offered sacrifices, sure. But they offered inappropriate and improper sacrifices. They offered sacrifices to God that wouldn’t even find favor with the governing authorities! So, why would they offer something to God that wouldn’t even be acceptable to men?
God’s people are not so much different today. We do the same thing. We hold out the best for ourselves and give God our leftovers.
We pay tithes or offerings based on what we have left after paying the bills and buying what we want rather than giving to God first!
We attend church when it doesn’t conflict with our work, entertainment or leisure time.
We are so preoccupied with other activities that we don’t have quality time to spend in Bible study and prayer.
I know God’s people can become impassive and indifferent because it happens to me.
So, we must constantly be on our guard and heed Malachi’s warning: God wants our best, not the rest!
There’s two reasons we give God our best and not our leftovers.
First, God is worthy of your best…. and even better than your best! When you give God your best, you acknowledge His worthiness.
And second, by giving God anything less than your best, you sacrifice God’s favor that He intends for you! When you give God your best, you open yourself up for all that God has to offer you!
It’s a fundamental spiritual proposition of God’s Kingdom: The more you empty yourself of yourself, the more God can fill you with Himself.
Give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you. (Luke 6:38, ESV)