Dead "Religion"

Reading: Malachi Chapter 1

By Melody Keena

Malachi was a prophet with difficult task, telling God’s people that they were sinning even though they did not see it that way.  When God’s people sin it is worse than if they were not believers because it not only breaks God’s law but also breaks His heart. God is our loving Father and it hurts Him when we choose to disobey.  Malachi also felt the burden of the message God gave him to share, just as our pastors do the messages God gives them to preach.

Malachi points out two issues in his first chapter.

Doubting God’s LoveLack of Love for God

This was also the first thing Jesus mentioned when talking to the church at Ephesus in Rev. 2:4-5 4 Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken the love you had at first. 5 Consider how far you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place. The Jewish people recited the Shema daily "Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one! You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your might" (Deut. 6:4-5, nkjv). But the people doubted that God loved them, so why should they love Him?  What evidence is there of God’s love?  Malachi gives three: God says He loves us, God gives us grace, and God has blessed His people.  Jacob was a deceiver and yet God blessed him so much that it seemed like God “hated” his brother. Now that is grace, unmerited favor.  God blessed His people by saving them from Edom, by bringing them back to their land, and by restoring the things that were lost.  Can you count the ways God has blessed you?

Dishonoring God’s Name (His character and reputation)

  1. The priests were breaking the very laws they were teaching others to obey.  This kind of service is a disgrace. Do we live exemplary lives so others are pointed to Jesus or do what we want?

  2. They were offering unacceptable sacrifices. They gave the leftovers and damaged goods to God.  Do we give Jesus the best of our time, talents, and treasures?  Our offerings to God are an indication of what is in our hearts.  Would you cheat God?

  3. People were making vows to God and then breaking them. Do we promise God something and then try to wiggle out of it?  God wants all or nothing.

Malachi even says at one point that if this is what “religion“ has become it would be better to close up the Lord’s house and stop bringing your offerings at all.  So how serious are we about bringing honor to God’s name?  Do we fear the God of the Angel Armies and desire to bring Him glory?  Is Malachi talking to the church of today and His people?

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