READING: Malachi 1-4, Psalm 50
“’For I am a great King,’” says the Lord of Armies, ‘and my name will be feared among the nations.’”
I have thought much about this verse ever since I first read the book of Malachi many years ago. To be frank, I went to that book because I was studying the topic of divorce – and the Lord grabbed me with another topic entirely: the topic of giving God less than our best. The text was Malachi 1:8—“’When you present a blind animal for sacrifice, is it not wrong? And when you present a lame or sick animal, is it not wrong? Bring it to your governor! Would he be pleased with you or show you favor?’ asks the Lord of Armies.”
The priests of Malachi’s day were offering animals that were sometimes blind, sometimes lame, sometimes diseased. They would never have offered such sacrifices to their political leaders, but they for some reason found justification in offering them to God. They thus disrespected the name of God and invited His anger. In fact, He would rather have had no offering at all than receive a leftover—a position pictured by God’s statement that He prefer that someone just “shut the temple doors” to stop such sacrifices (Mal. 1:10).
In the past, I’ve often thought about how often I give God less than my best. This year, though, I’m struck by the holiness of God. The issue is not simply that I sometimes give God my leftovers; it is that I consequently don’t treat God as the Holy Creator, Redeemer, and great King that He is. He simply deserves my best.
- Contemplate the absolute holiness of God today.
- With every decision you make today, give God your best.
PRAYER: “God, I stand amazed that You are my Father. I promise You my best.”
TOMORROW’S READING: Ezra 7-10