Malachi 1:14 “Cursed is the cheat who has an acceptable male in his flock and vows to give it, but then sacrifices a blemished animal to the Lord. For I am a great king,” says the Lord Almighty, “and my name is to be feared among the nations.”
Because we live in a money-based society, the idea of giving a specific item to God doesn’t click for most people today, but the principle here is still valid. It is common for people to say, “I’m going to do such-and-such for the Lord,” but then fail to follow through simply because doing as they had said would be inconvenient. Likewise, “Of course I’ll give to the Missions offering,” all too often doesn’t produce any difference in the bottom line. The point is that we think of God like Santa Claus, rather than as the King of the Universe. As God is saying through Malachi, we fail to give Him the respect He deserves. It’s not at all that God is in need of what we give Him, in any form at all. He is indeed omnipotent, and anything He wants He can speak into being. However, we need to respect God fully for our hearts and lives to be in order. We have forgotten “the fear of the Lord” that the Old Testament talks about so much. God doesn’t want us “quaking in our boots,” afraid to approach Him, but if we fail to respect Him for who and what He is, nothing else in our lives will be in the right relationship and proportion. I think a good part of that today is in the failure of fathers to be true fathers, rather than just sperm donors. When a child grows up not fearing the consequences of breaking the rules, society falls apart, just as we are seeing. It is a simple fact of life that our concept of God is greatly colored by our relationship with our physical father. If we can get away with sassing our parents, we aren’t likely to have a right relationship with God. That said, it is possible for even someone who never had a true human father to repent of their rebellion and receive healing and restoration from their Heavenly Father, but it requires humility. We need to see God more as He truly is, and see ourselves as we are. When that happens, humility and respect are guaranteed!
I didn’t have a perfect father; no one does. However, my human father loved and respected both his human father and his Heavenly Father, and he sought to transmit that to me. What a glorious blessing! As a pastor, I am a spiritual father to many, and the attitudes I see are all across the board. How people relate to me is unimportant, except to the degree that it reflects people’s attitude toward God. I do see a great deal of the attitude God is pointing out in this verse. Interestingly, sometimes non-Christians express more respect than Christians! My goal should be for each believer to relate to God as He is, rather than as they would like Him to be. That’s a tall order! I’ve got to start with myself, following through on everything I say to God. As I was writing this, the Lord brought to mind a specific contribution to Samaritan’s Purse that I had resolved to make, but haven’t done yet. That needs to be done today! I don’t have much place pointing fingers when I fail to follow through myself.
Father, thank You for Your grace and patience toward me. Help me keep growing in my response and obedience to You. I want to love You as You deserve, with all of me, and You made it clear that involves obedience. (John 14:15) Help me lead others to respect You properly by respecting You properly myself, for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!