Currently for our faith group, we are studying the Book of Malachi. Tonight we did Chapter 1:6-14.
Talk about being smacked upside the head.
The point of these verses is the complaint God has about the Jewish Priests during the time when Malachi is writing (circa 432-424 BC). God's complaint is that the priests dishonor Him. How, God rhetorically asks on behalf of the priests. By their dishonoring of His Altar.
How do they dishonor it, they ask? God answers by pointing out to them that they have ignored the commands of the Pentateuch in that all offerings were to be pure, unblemished, males a year of age. Instead, they were accepting animals that were blind, lame, and unfit for sacrifice. God then challenges them: offer them to the Persian governor - would he accept them? Of course not. How much less, then, would the Creator of the Universe.
God challenges them again: If you continue to do wrong, will He accept an offering from their hands - pure or impure? Will He accept them favorably?
He then finishes in verses 12-14, again pointing out that the priests disdain serving the Lord, sniffing or sneering at it and calling it "a weariness". And then He curses those who have that which should be offered to Him -the best - and instead offer something which is less than the best, because (it is implied) they want to keep it for themselves.
Fine and good, I say to myself. Yay Old Testament! Yay Grace instead of Law!
But the question remains: am I giving God my best?
And what is my best? Oh, it includes tithes and offerings (as in the Old Testament), but it includes much more. Do I give my time and talents to serving God - the best, not the leftovers? If I claim to truly love and serve Christ, do I seek to do His will - the low hanging fruit, the things that say "This is the will of God:.....", let alone the stuff that takes more discernment?
More often than not, I fear, I give God the seconds, thirds, or fourths: my energy, plans and life are too often spent on myself, my job, my plans, my family, and then God - maybe, if something else doesn't get in the way first.
An easy place to start is my schedule and my energy (read sleep pattern). I honestly should go to bed an hour to an hour and a half earlier than I typically do. I know I have to get early, and I know that a lack of sleep affects but. But I don't. Why? Because I want to do "my things", and doing them is more "important" than being well rested.
Does it impact me? Of course it does - all day, I'm run down. By the time I get home, my mood is only a little less than sour - and this the typical time I have to spend with my family. Are they seeing God through me there? I doubt it.
This then are two the challenges that God has given me through this study:
1) Am I giving God my best? How often? How much?
2) To do this, I have to come to understand His will more - and seek to do those things, rather than the things that I wish to do without consulting Him.