No More Scraps
This was what Malachi, the prophet of God, was trying to tell the people of Israel. Boy, were they in deep trouble with God. All through the Book of Malachi, God is laying out a list of receipts.
I’ve provided love.
I’ve provided protection.
I’ve provided provisions.
I’ve provided covering.
Yet, insufficient funds. It’s not enough God. You haven’t done enough for us God. You need to do more for us God. Like a child kicking and screaming even after the parent has provided everything to them. What they should have deserved, they did not go through.
Yet, it is not enough.
Slap in the face.
I can only imagine how Malachi was feeling. I would have said “don’t shoot the messenger”. However, they were on a path headed to destruction. They took God for granted and thought that God would be fine with that.
Many have this idea of God: Because He has amazing love for us, it will never run out no matter what we do or say.
That is wrong. God doesn't take disrespect. He may take a lot of things. However, you can’t run up a tab on God and not give anything in return. It goes past just giving Him something. It’s about HOW you give it. God cares about your heart.
In Malachi 1, God brings up a comparison of a father or master when talking to the people through the prophet Malachi. Would you treat your natural father or master in a disrespectful way ?
Slap in the face.
God deserves more than our scraps.
He deserves all of our praise and our adoration. Yet, we feel the need to demote Him to how we treat our friends who we talk to every other month. That’s how the people of God were treating Him in the Book of Malachi. They gave their scraps to the priests. The priests never told the people of God that what they were giving was not acceptable. No, they sent up burnt offerings that smelled like offense.
They gave God their second hand worship. Second hand praise. Second hand devotion.
They sent their friends to Neiman Marcus but God to Goodwill.
How twisted can we be.
Do not give God your scraps. God had blessed the people of God with increase. They gave God their leftovers. God blessed them with silver and gold. They give God a penny.
God blesses you with a house, car, and clothing. We go into our churches. Fill up the pews and then complain when the pastor asks us to place money in an envelope. We complain when people ask us to serve in our churches. We complain when its time to do the work of the Lord. When, it's time to pray, we say we have no time.
God deserves more than our scraps.
He deserves the best because He is the best. We give our full energy to everyone else except the one who breathed the breath of life into us.
We are too busy. We are too focused. We are not available.
God is not asking for much. It’s just that it seems like too much because we have already given ourselves to everyone else. God’s love is infinite and He deserves more than what we give to one another.
There are so many people in this world who have become consumed with things that they have forgotten who gave it to them in the first place. Even then, there are some things we have obtained that God did not give to us. We gave it to ourselves and have made it our idol. We have worshiped our jobs, our friends, and our levels in life more than our God.
The issue lies in the heart. Our hearts are supposed to beat for Him. We should desire to give our best to Him and then take the rest & apply it to the other areas of our lives. When you give your best to God, He will give His best to you.
Yet, the Israelites were angry. They had been through a lot. They had many ups and downs. We all have been through test and trials. Things seem to push us to the edge. However, the Israelites made one mistake. They took out their anger on God instead of the enemy. Instead of fighting back with prayer & praise, they stopped honoring the only person that was keeping them.
They stopped thinking with their heart. God looks at our heart.
I am reminded of the story in Luke 21 of the widow who gave her last at the Temple. Your greatest amount may not be another’s greatest amount. However, we must give from our hearts and do our best. The people of God received a very straight forward word from God through Malachi. However, God was not done. He also told them that He was not done loving them. He still loved them but He couldn't do all that He desired for them if they continued to dishonor Him.
Some people may think that the Book of Malachi is a condemning book. Yet, this Book is showing us just how serious God cares about us. He loves us too much for us to become self-centered and obsessed with things that do not matter.
God had to sit the people down and give them a "refresher" on who He was and has done for them. We need to pay attention when God is trying to GET our attention. In Malachi 4, God tells them that for those that decide to turn their lives around and make the right decision, they will be blessed.
God had made a covenant with the people of Israel. A spiritual covenant is a commitment from one heart to another. It's not from flesh to flesh. God is not a "flesh" God. God is a spirit according to John 4:24. He takes the promises that He makes seriously God desired to honor that covenant with the Israelites. When God sent His only son, Jesus, to die for the sins of the world, a new covenant was introduced. This new covenant allows us to have a personal relationship with God. We no longer need priests for us to give an offering or to show our affection unto God. However, we are not to get lazy with God. If anything, it's the opposite.
God's hand was the only reason why they were even alive. I remember my own past and where God has brought me from. I remember moments where it was only because of God that something didn't end the way it should have. Let's remove God's protection real quick and evaluate some things. If God had no hand in your life, would you be alive ? Would you be somewhere much worse ? Would you be blessed enough to tell your story ? I know people that did the same things I did when I did not honor God and my life is the total opposite of theirs. I DESERVE what they received. However, God's hand made me see that if I just praise Him and serve Him intensely, He will show Himself to be what He promised to be.
God was tired of being taken for granted by the people of Israel. Evaluate where in your life you may be taking Him for granted. How can you show God that you love Him this week ? God has done so much for us collectively and individually. Go above and beyond for Him.