DISHONORING THE LORD
‘A son honors his father and a servant his master. If I am a father, where is the honor due me?’ (Malachi 1/5). God’s people are accused and questioned by the Lord asking, ‘Where is the respect due me as you show contempt for my name.’ They responded
Asking, how? ‘You place defiled food on my altar.’ Again they replied, how? The answer was, ‘By saying the Lord’s table is contemptible.’ How insulting and disrespectful this practice was to the Lord. He challenged them in anger, ‘When you bring blind, diseased, crippled animals as sacrifice, is that not wrong? Oh, that one of you would close the temple doors, so that you would not light useless fires on my altar! I am not pleased with you and I will accept no offering from your hands!
The Lord calls many to account for their wrongdoings and those who try to deceive him. In Chapter three he says, as the Lord Almighty, ‘Turn to me and I will return to you,’ and again he was asked, ‘How?
‘Will a man rob God? Yet you rob me?’
‘But, you ask, ‘How do we rob you?’ With your tithes and offerings. You are under a curse – the whole nation of you – because you are robbing me. Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse that there may be food in my house. Test me in this and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room for it’.
Therefore, the Lord, with his truth and awareness of man trying to deceive him, discerned who was harmful to him and chastised them harshly. In Chapter four/2, it is written, ‘But for you who revere my name, the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its wings’. Our Lord knows our hearts so well, even the hidden parts and convicts us to change our lives to his ways. How much his heart would have been wearied by the nations blatant dishonor of him and of being robbed of tithes.
The words and direction of truth and justice is his measure of refining our lives in his name. Zechariah 12 reads of Jerusalem being strong because the Lord is their God. ‘ On that day I will make the leaders of Judah like a fire-pot in a woodpile, like a flaming torch among sheaves……but Jerusalem will remain intact in her place’. So Jerusalem is still favored and protected. Chapter 13/9 makes us aware ‘One third of scattered sheep (those left in the land) I will bring into the fire. I will refine them like silver-and test them like gold. They will call on my name and I will answer them. I will say ‘They are my people.’ And they will say, ‘The Lord is our God’.
So there it is, dishonor, defiling of food, contempt for God’s altar, diseased offerings and God’s discernment, the robbing of his tithes, his truths and awareness of man’s wrongdoing, the request to revere his name, the measure of truth and justice, the refining (into precious metals), the protection of Jerusalem, the warning for Judah and the testing like gold. Refining his preciousness in us shapes us all with his love.