MALACHI MAKES A MOVE
The book of Malachi opens with a declaration of love from the Lord through his prophet, Malachi, ‘I have loved you very deeply Israel’. The sarcastic reply was, ‘Really! When was this?’ Can you believe such an answer of disrespect and ignorance from the priests? When a reply was spoken out of how Jacob was loved even when not needing to etc. the reminder came that the Lord of Hosts repeats, ‘Try to rebuild the inheritance of Esau but I will destroy it again for the country is named, ‘The land of wickedness and their people are called, ‘Those whom God does not forgive.’ The rebuke comes thus: ‘O Israel, lift up your eyes to see what God is doing all around the world, then you will say, ‘Truly, the Lord’s great power goes far beyond our borders!’ The implication of those words applies to the generations of today.
It was enough to absorb the priests’ hearing the chastisement of the Lord with this warning,
‘I am your father and master, yet you do not honor me, O priests, but despise my name.’
‘Who? Us?’ you say, ‘When did we ever despise your name?
‘When you offer polluted sacrifices on my altar.’ was the answer.
Denial was uttered from the lips of the priests but the reply entered their hearts as the accusations were spoken aloud for all to hear,
‘Every time you say to the people, ‘Do not bother bringing anything very valuable to offer to God.’ You tell the people, ‘Lame animals are all right to offer the Lord – yes, even the sick
and blind ones. How evil this is to me. O to find one priest who among you would shut the doors and refuse this kind of sacrifice. I will not accept your mocking and deceitful offerings. The Lord’s condemnation continues with the warnings of curses should the substituting of sick, lame offerings in the sacred name of God continue. ‘I am to be revered among the Gentiles. I will rebuke your children, spread on your faces the manure of these offered animals and throw you out like dung. The purpose of my laws is to give peace and life and to be a means of showing respect and awe for me, by keeping such laws.’
The Lord, therefore, vilified the cheating priests but this reading of THE WORD seems to me to be relevant, a warning to us today and stirs the heart and spirit to reveal the disrespect and deceit in spiritual aspects of our world today. The chapter of ‘Malachi makes a Move’ will make us consider re-evaluating our own respect and awe levels for God.