How They Dishonoured God!  0

In Malachi chapter one God said He was being dishonoured. Specifically we are informed in the words of God as follows,

 A son honoureth his father, and a servant his master: If then I be a father, where is mine honour? And if I be a master, where is my fear? Saith the Lord of hosts unto you, O priests, that despise my name. And ye say, Wherein have we despised thy name?” (Mal 1:6).

God said He was being dishonoured by the group of people who should be in the forefront of those honouring Him. Rather than accepting the accusation and repenting the priests began to argue. They cast doubt on the truth of what God said. They pretended all was well while they continued with their corrupt practices in the name of God.

And to refute their hypocrisy and throw their lies back on their faces, God now gives more details of what they were doing. Since they knew what they were doing but pretended not to, it was necessary to expose them so others could see and learn not to follow their evil ways of dishonouring God.

What about you?

There is a need to take a second look at yourself too.

Here, in this piece you will see who were dishonouring God, and what they were doing to dishonour God according to God Himself. You will be able to see yourself in the mirror of the word of God. You will therefore see where you are in your relationship with the Lord and whatever amendments necessary for you.

Please, for you to be able to appropriately evaluate yourself, and before you dismiss any accusation that might already be coming your way with a wave of the hand read through this piece. (Watch this video to the end).

It is titled “How They Dishonoured God” for a reason.

With that in mind, let us have a look at some of the details as given by God as in Malachi 1:7-8:

7 Ye offer polluted bread upon mine altar; And ye say, Wherein have we polluted thee? In that ye say, The table of the LORD is contemptible.

8 And if ye offer the blind for sacrifice, is it not evil? And if ye offer the lame and sick, is it not evil? Offer it now unto thy governor; Will he be pleased with thee, or accept thy person? saith the Lord of hosts.”

Normal turned into abnormal

The events referred to the post-exilic generation who had returned to Israel from captivity. Earlier in the Old Testament each worshipper slaughtered his own offering (cf. Lev 4:4, 15, 24, 29; 1Sam 2:12-17). But by the time of the return from captivity (the time of our text), the priests had taken over this function too.

This should have made it easier to ensure the purity of the sacrifices as every worshipper then had to go through the priests. The priests had the duty and the power to ensure that all animals and other items brought as sacrifice by the people met the standard set by the Mosaic law. This is what was the normal at the start when the priests did their duty faithfully.

But from what transpired it soon became apparent that the priests were failing in the performance of their duties. The priests twisted the normal far enough to turn it into the abnormal. Their practices in the temple were no more recognisable as what initially came from God.

It was then the LORD confronted the wayward priests. But when confronted by God they denied all wrong doings. So God had to show them the evidence. Hence, this text.

7 Ye offer polluted bread upon mine altar; And ye say, Wherein have we polluted thee? In that ye say, The table of the Lord is contemptible.

 They brought items to God. They brought items of sacrifice to God in obedience to the Mosaic law. So, to the onlooker they appeared to be committed and obedient to God.

  Polluted, that is, defile, unclean meaning ceremonially unclean and therefore not acceptable for sacrifice to God. Items of food (bread) brought were not fit for purpose.

 These things were brought to the altar that belonged to God. The altar was raised up portion like a large table withing the temple where certain aspects of the sacrifice and gifts to God were to be presented before God in the temple.

 Rather than accepting their wrong, they argued with God questioning Him. They said to God, “how have we polluted or defiled you?” They answered back to God denying any wrongdoing. They were saying to God, “show us how we have defiled you.” “Show us what we have done wrong because as far as we know, we have been diligent in carrying out our duties in our service to you!”

 “The table of the LORD” is figure of speech illustrative of where meals are eaten. A place where God dines figuratively as it were. It was as if the sacrifice of food and gifts offered at the altar were for God to eat.

 To be contemptible is to be worthy of contempt. It does not deserve of any respect or reference. Deserving of scorn or a low standing in any scale of values.

 The priests as gatekeepers

The office of the priest was a privileged and powerful one. They determine those who could and could not enter the temple and its precincts. In addition to worship, the temple was also a centre of social interaction for the people. the priests could banish someone from the temple. Such banishment led to such a one being ostracized by the rest of society. Such a scenario was considered a disaster by the average Jew of the time.

This was why the parents of the blind man healed by the Lord Jesus Christ refused to confirm that it was Christ who healed their son (John 9:19-23). The people might have been wary of calling their attention to what they were doing wrong. They were in their own world and superior to all else.]]]

 The priests vetted the animals and gifts

The people brought their animals and other prescribed items meant for the various sacrifices to the priests. The priests had to inspect the items brought to ensure they met the required standard as prescribed in the law. They were to reject whatever did not meet God’s prescription.

In this wise the priests were the gatekeepers who scrutinized the offerings and gifts the people brought to God in the temple as to their suitability or not. As the gatekeepers between the people and God every aspect of their work within and outside the temple was to ensure that God was given His due honour by the people.

But the priests became corrupt like the people. They showed partiality. They became greedy and covetous. Hence, animals that were healthy and met God’s requirements were kept for themselves. The people were also allowed to bring unfit animals (sick, disabled) for sacrifice after receiving bribes from the one bringing the sacrifice. Thus, they turned a blind eye. 

Every occasion of sacrifice offered the priests the opportunity to inspect every animal brought before they were offered, and as such an opportunity to demonstrate their love and commitment to the glory of the living God.

But what did they do?

They abandoned their sacred duties for temporary and filthy gain.

They undervalued and devalued God

They were able to do this because their heart was corrupt and could not reference God. 

Put another way, they said the table of the LORD was at the lowest level of their value scale! Hence, they treated it with utmost disrespected by offering defiled sacrifices on His altar.

8 And if ye offer the blind for sacrifice, is it not evil? And if ye offer the lame and sick, is it not evil? Offer it now unto thy governor; Will he be pleased with thee, or accept thy person? saith the Lord of hosts.”

The priests accepted blind, lame, and sick animals from the people and offered them as sacrifices to God on His altar. Both the people and the priests knew this was unacceptable and wrong. Yet they offered them anyway!

 God was not expecting them to answer these questions. Were they to answer, the expected answer to both questions would have been, “yes, it is evil!”

The law of Moses expressly prohibited the offering of blind, lame, sick, and otherwise blemished animals (cf. Lev 22:18-25; Deut. 15:21).

Blind, or broken, or maimed, or having a wen, or scurvy, or scabbed, ye shall not offer these unto the LORD, nor make an offering by fire of them upon the altar unto the LORD.(Lev 22:22).

God dared them to offer similar blind, lame, and sick animals they offered at His altar to their governor!

 The governor will not be please with them, and he will not accept their person or show them any favour were they to offer such unfit animals as gifts to him. Of cause, they would not dare.

 God brought them to a real-life situation that they could all relate to. The giving of gifts to governors and other dignitaries they were familiar with.

They had foreign governors ruling over them. They respected and treated them with utmost regard. Both in speech, and practical things they made extra effort to show their respect and honour for such human dignitaries.

Yet the King of Kings, and Lord of Lord, their maker who had done and continued to do them so much good was despised in their eyes. People do things they would not do to another person to God. They give more honour to human dignitaries than to God.

  • Can you imagine someone giving a sick or blind animal to the queen or prime minister or president or some other dignitary?
  • Can you even imagine a friend giving you a defective gift he/she knows you dislike?
  • Can you imagine someone giving you an item he picked from the rubbish bin as a birthday present?

That is what they were doing with delight and congratulating themselves for service well-rendered. Hence, were arguing with God and justifying their actions before Him!

However, before God all the service they were rendering was evil!!!

Please, examine yourself in the light of the foregoing.

The priests knew what they were doing

Remember: To sacrifice to God is to give up something that is genuinely of value as a way of demonstrating or expressing devotion to God.

But they were offering blind, lame, sick and diseased animals to God. They were offering things they did not want, things that were of no value to them, to God. Theirs were no sacrifices at all. They were just carrying out the motions, the semblance of a sacrifice.

Deep down they knew they were doing wrong, but they rationalised their wrong doings. They must have thought God would not mind, after all, everything was going to be burnt in fire.

What difference does it make, healthy or diseased animal?

They had an ungodly pact with the people

The priests who were entrusted with the keeping of the sanctuary and the offering and other services of God should have rejected such sacrifices as they were being brought by the people.

If the people were willing to despise and disobey God while pretending the opposite, the priests should have refused to go along. The priests should have reminded them, taught them, and insisted on the perfect offerings God demanded of His people.

But we are under the New Covenant

Under the Old Covenant, the people had to take their sacrifices and gifts to the temple, a physical structure and there presented to the LORD through the priests. The sacrifices and gifts had to meet the standard prescribed by the Mosaic law.

However, under the New Testament things get remarkably close and personal! For the believers in Christ under the New Testament are the priests and temple roll into one! It is critically important to understand this.

While the Coming to fellowship should be an opportunity to showcase our faith and believe in God, we should be coming with the honour of God in mind.

God has sacrificed His Son, Jesus Christ for us. That has abolished the animal sacrifices, so we do not have to carry animals to church for sacrificial offerings.

No more animal sacrifices for those under the New Covenant. The sacrifices of the believers in Christ under the New Covenant are of a different kind.

And more than ever, believers still have to fear and honour God. We still have to sacrifice our offerings.

Remember again, sacrifice is to give up something that is genuinely of value to us as a child of God, as a way of demonstrating or expressing devotion to God. If we come to honour God, we should then give our best, that which is of value to us.

Potential sacrifices

Let us just look at few of the ways we ought to offer our sacrifices to honour God:

Our time, our appearance before God and before our fellowmen, and our substance, all of which are part of our lifestyle of faith.

Our time:

In fellowship, pay attention, participate. Do not be a distraction. In the word. In prayer. In helping others.

 Appearance: Dress properly.

At the risk of being accused of legalism or fashion police I would suggest these barest minimums:

Let your dressing dignify you as a child of God, rather than portraying you as someone wayward:

There should be no plunging neckline, and no trousers falling down your waistline and showing the cleft of your bum. Your skirts should not be so far above the knees that you keep making half-hearted efforts to stretch them to cover your modesty, knowing fully well, they will not suddenly become longer than that they are.

There should also be no distracting and attention-seeking transparent clothing.

Cosmetics: No cosmetics or make-ups that make you look more like a made-up manikin rather than a child of God.

 Practice of the people of God (appearance)

In the day of old, both in the OT and the NT, people of God adorned themselves appropriately, especially the women. Women used cosmetics, jewellery, and other ornaments to enhance their beauty. They did not use such to change their identity or to be the centre of attraction or a source of distraction.

Thus the people of God took care of their appearance properly and in ways that glorified God.

For example we are told:

18 In that day the Lord will take away the bravery of their tinkling ornaments about their feet, And their cauls, and their round tires like the moon, 19 The chains, and the bracelets, and the mufflers, 20 The bonnets, and the ornaments of the legs, and the headbands, And the tablets, and the earrings, 21 The rings, and nose jewels, 22 The changeable suits of apparel, and the mantles, And the wimples, and the crisping pins, 23 The glasses, and the fine linen, And the hoods, and the vails.(Is 3:18-23).

Here God was threatening to take away the ornaments of the women as judgement against their sinful ways. These would suggest that holy women were expected to, and it was considered part of God’s blessing to be able to adorn themselves. It was of value to them to do this. They pride themselves at being able to take care of their bodies.

Therefore, loosing, the capacity to adore themselves will be a serious deprivation. Hence, the threat by God to take it away as punishment. But they were not to take care of their external appearance at the expense or to the neglect of their inner or hidden man.

So, we told of them as those:

3 Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel; 4 but let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price.(1Pet 3:3-4).

This is not saying women should not use gold, jewellery, or ornaments, as some have erroneously prohibited women from adorning themselves. Rather, they should be used in moderation as the word of God again tells us:

In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefastness and sobriety; not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array.(1Tim 2:9).

Your heart and practice of your faith

Praise God genuinely with the offering of your lips from a grateful heart. Prayer, fasting, study and practice of the Word of God should be a lifestyle.

Your substance

 To God:

When you give your offering, give genuinely what you can afford. When you give material things, give things of value, useable, and not just worn-out clothes that are not useable for anybody or gadgets that have seen the best of their days.

 To fellow men:

Aim to genuinely help those you can in whatever capacity, without thinking of possible benefits. Do not refuse to help someone you can, simply because you think they will not be useful to you, or because you cannot see any benefit or advantage to derive from them.

 Are you being accused?

  • Are the accusations coming in uninvited like a flood?
  • Yes, has a similar accusation of dishonouring God been made against you?
  • By whom?
  • Any truth in it?
  • Do you think there is no truth in such accusation?
  • Are you already accusing your accusers of maligning your good character?

 Do not dismiss the accusation with a wave of the hand. Rather, evaluate the content of the accusation.

 What are you doing today in the name of God that God may consider evil?

 Especially Note that: Your accuser could come from a number of sources, especially those who are close to you and know much about you: Your conscience, the Word of God, a spouse, a parent, your child, a sibling, a neighbour, a Christian worker, an innocent by-stander, the LORD Himself. These in any combination could be the means God is using to get your attention that you are dishonouring Him. And that it is time for you to re-evaluate your relationship to and service for Him.

 Please, I implore you to heed the call of God now. Do not be too wise in your self-conceit. Rather, repent and start honouring the LORD as He eminently deserves.

 Remember, these old Covenant priests dishonoured God while claiming to be serving Him. It is possible they became complacent because as a group they were in a powerful position. They could even banish people from the temple.

The possibility of people they looked down upon pointing out their errors to them would have be remote. They could even claim like many false teachers do today, that they were God’s anointed and such ones pointing out their evil deeds were in danger of God’s wrath.

God called their attention to their evil deeds. They denied and argued with God instead. God confronted them with the evidence of their evil deeds, evidence they knew was true. Rather than to repent, forsake their evil ways and return to the LORD, they persisted in their evil deeds of polluting the worship of the LORD.

Though the days of animal sacrifices are gone, believers more than ever are to fear and honour God. It is even more critical now that the believer in Christ is both the temple and the priest of the LORD!

God has prescribed for and demanded of all His people for all generations that they must fear and honour Him above all else in all circumstances. The means may be different, but the demand stands for all times.

By what you the believer does every day, you either honour or dishonour the LORD. As His child, you should endeavour to always have the honour and glory of God uppermost in the heart. This will help you to always with His help, honour and glorify the LORD with your life.

 Please, call yourself to order before God does. Resolve now that henceforth, you will begin to honour God with all that you do.

 I pray the Merciful LORD get your attention and grant you the wisdom to genuinely honour and glorify Him according to His prescription in Jesus’ Name, Amen.

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