Tough Love

OPENING PRAYER

Lord, transform my heart in a way that is reflected in all that I do and say.

 

Read: MALACHI 1:1-11

[1] A prophecy: The word of the LORD to Israel through Malachi. [2] “I have loved you,” says the LORD. “But you ask, ‘How have you loved us?’ “Was not Esau Jacob’s brother?” declares the LORD. “Yet I have loved Jacob, [3] but Esau I have hated, and I have turned his hill country into a wasteland and left his inheritance to the desert jackals.” [4] Edom may say, “Though we have been crushed, we will rebuild the ruins.” But this is what the LORD Almighty says: “They may build, but I will demolish. They will be called the Wicked Land, a people always under the wrath of the LORD. [5]You will see it with your own eyes and say, ‘Great is the LORD-even beyond the borders of Israel!’ [6] “A son honors his father, and a slave 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 priests who show contempt for my name. “But you ask, ‘How have we shown contempt for your name?’ [7] “By offering defiled food on my altar. “But you ask, ‘How have we defiled you?’ “By saying that the LORD’s table is contemptible. [8] When you offer blind animals for sacrifice, is that not wrong? When you sacrifice lame 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. [9] “Now plead with God to be gracious to us. With such offerings from your hands, will he accept you?”-says the LORD Almighty. [10] “Oh, that one of you would shut the temple doors, so that you would not light useless fires on my altar! I am not pleased with you,” says the LORD Almighty, “and I will accept no offering from your hands. [11] My name will be great among the nations, from where the sun rises to where it sets. In every place incense and pure offerings will be brought to me, because my name will be great among the nations,” says the LORD Almighty. 

 

Reflect: WHAT WERE THE SITED OFFENSES OF THE ISRAELITES?

 Like the proverbial bad penny, Esau/Edom turns up in a dozen Old Testament books, usually portrayed as the enemy of Jacob/Israel (see Gen. 25:24–28; 2 Kings 8:20–22). Though Esau was the older of the two, it was Jacob who was exalted. God had chosen the family line of Jacob as the conduit for the Messiah’s entrance into the world. Despite Israel’s difficulties, they would survive because of God’s choice/love (1:2), whilst Edom would and did disappear as a nation (1:4).God had bestowed honor on the nation of Israel, his chosen people. They were to be his light to all nations, yet they did not honor God (6). They offered God their leftovers—what they wouldn’t even think to offer for a government tax (8). God says no worship would be better than this compromised half-hearted offering; these are useless fires that they are burning, meaningless sacrifices.We have been given the greatest honor. God has called us his children and paid the ultimate price on our behalf. How are we responding? With a half-hearted offering or a life fully devoted, set on honoring the Lord in all we do?

 

APPLY

Ask the Lord to speak to you about the offering you are presenting to him. Respond as he leads.

 

CLOSING PRAYER

Almighty God, You are worthy of hearts that are fully devoted to You and lives that are poured out for You alone.

 

Syndicated via Scripture Union. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
 

Terry Schneider