“A son honors his father,
And a servant his master.
If then I am the Father,
Where is My honor?
And if I am a Master,
Where is My reverence?” -Malachi 1:6
Imagine the scene: you’re summoned to come before a great and mighty king, and you’re terrified! He is a kind but just king- there is a gentle fire that burns in his eyes. This ruler has the power of life and death in his hands…if you show the slightest sign of disrespect, it could be the end. He has conquered nation after nation and is known far and wide as the wealthiest and most powerful man on earth. His palace is beautiful and ornate.
How would you approach this ruler? How would I?
I highly doubt I would confidently strut into the room. The awe I would experience would be coupled with an incredible sense of fear.
And yet, everything goes ok. In fact, I get invited back time and time again. After a while, I loosen up a bit…I realize I can get away with sitting down instead of kneeling in respect. I gradually learn that I can come in with a drink in my hand and talk to him with food in my mouth without any immediate consequence. Eventually, when the king calls me, I start to ignore him every once in a while…after all, I have a lot going on- no time for the king today!
Is it possible that this is what we’ve done with God? Have the awe and fear worn off? When…if…we go before the Lord, do we bring our second or third best?
Malachi is addressing this issue in his prophecy. The people wondered how they’d despised the Lord! After all, they were following the rules listed. They were sacrificing and performing the offerings as He had commanded. Yet, they’d missed the whole purpose.
“‘And when you offer the blind as a sacrifice,
Is it not evil?
And when you offer the lame and sick,
Is it not evil?
Offer it then to your governor!
Would he be pleased with you?
Would he accept you favorably?’
Says the Lord of hosts.” (verse 8)
“You also say,
‘Oh, what a weariness!’
And you sneer at it,
Says the Lord of hosts.” (verse 13)
When we come before the Lord, have we lost the awe and fear due Him? Have we constructed an image of God that sees Him more as a genie who answers our prayer or needs our help in accomplishing His mission on earth? Do we come into His presence ungratefully and tired, doing so just to check the square? Have we gotten used to Who He is? Do we take it for granted? If so, we must radically change our view of Who God is.
Our God is the creator and sustainer, the One who put the galaxies in place. Our God is the author of life. Though our God is all-good, we tend to forget He’s all-knowing and all-powerful. Our God is the only One in control of life and death. Our God has storehouses of thunder and lighting. Our God commands the wind. Our God has sway over the hearts of men. Our God is eternal. Our God is mighty and majestic. Our God owns everything. Our God died to save us so we could know Him.
“There is not a square inch in the whole domain of our human existence over which Christ, who is Sovereign over all, does not cry, ‘Mine!’” -Abraham Kuyper
Our God deserves our best. Period.
When we come into His presence lackadaisically, what a subpar sacrifice we bring. When we tithe ungratefully, what a pitiful sacrifice we bring. When we disrespect and ignore his commands in our actions and language, what a despicable sacrifice we bring. When we ignore time alone in His Word and fellowship with other believers, what an insulting sacrifice we bring.
As we wouldn’t approach a mighty king the way envisioned above, so we should not dare to approach our King that same way.
Why does it matter?
“‘For My name shall be great among the nations,’
Says the Lord of hosts.” Malachi 1:11b
Our God is great and greatly to be praised. That’s why.