I've been digging into the book of Malachi for a study I'm currently involved in with SoHills' YoungMarrieds Group. The words God spoke through His prophet Malachi are full of meaning for us today. These words from Malachi 1:6-8 smacked me in the mouth:
"A son honors his father, and a servant his master. If I am a father, where is the honor due me? If I am a master, where is the respect due me?" says the LORD Almighty. "It is you, O priests, who show contempt for my name.
"But you ask, 'How have we shown contempt for your name?' "You place defiled food on my altar. "But you ask, 'How have we defiled you?'
"By saying that the LORD's table is contemptible. When you bring blind animals for sacrifice, is that not wrong? When you sacrifice crippled or diseased animals, is that not wrong? Try offering them to your governor! Would he be pleased with you? Would he accept you?" says the LORD Almighty.
The priests had the audacity to offer God what their governor would never have accepted from them. They were more fearful of the governor's rejection than God's!
Before you and I shake a finger at these priests, we need to take a moment to think about all we're involved in and all that encompasses... our commitments and responsibilities. Then think about how we approach matters that relate to God. Do our standards line up? Does our work ethic and commitment reveal God's greatness and authority?
God ceases to be honored when the other commitments of our life take a greater priority than our commitment to Him. So why is it we find ourselves cheating God in ways we would never think about in other areas of our lives?
Malachi's stinging rebuke was delivered to the priests because they publicly vowed to give God their best and then did not privately follow through. It would seem he priests were more interested in people seeing them serve God than actually serving Him.
Are we due a stinging rebuke for being more interested in impressing people than we are in impressing God?
We are called to be holy because God is holy... not because people are watching, or because holiness looks good on our spiritual resumes.