This message was presented on June 2, 2013 as a part of a series on Malachi.
Enough is Enough
Malachi was written 2400 years ago, but our passage could easily have been an editorial in the Star today. The passage reminds me of people who are not really aware of what’s going on around them. Have you ever heard someone say, “I don’t know what happened at work. I was laid off. I did most of what I was told to do. Sure I was late a few times. Sure I was sick, but there were things I had to do around the house. Everyone says they do that. No I didn’t attend the company functions. Why should I? They aren’t any fun. People get into their own cliques anyway. I just stayed home. I just don’t understand why I was laid off.” Israel was not aware of what was going on either.
Israel was about to get their pink slip from God, again. They did not seek after God with their whole heart. Their complacency left them indifferent to the holiness of God. They had forgotten the agony of exile, when God said “Enough is enough.” God was about to say, “Enough!” again to Israel. If God can say enough, how should He be approached? How should God be worshiped?
1) Worship God with honor 1:6-8
Malachi 1:6-2:9 is a rebuke to the priests. Their attitude was communicated to the people that any offering was better than none at all. Yet, God gave an entire book, Leviticus, including major portions in Exodus, describing precise procedures and standards for offerings. Why did He give such preciseness? Was it to make us work? Was it to make us feel bad? Was it to make us miserable? Those are all the wrong questions. What is the focus in those questions? The focus is on self. The answers must all relate to the reality that God is holy and righteous. The questions should have been, “Why did God establish precise procedures?” Or, “Why is God so meticulous in the standard for offerings?” Israel’s heart was far from God and they were moving farther away.
God spoke through Malachi in Malachi 1:6,
- 6 “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? Says the LORD of hosts To you priests who despise My name. Yet you say,`In what way have we despised Your name?’
God chooses two words that denote respect in the Jewish mind: father (ab) and master (adonay). The lack of honor and reverence are the seed bed for the Pharisees and Sadducees in the time of Jesus. Like the people in Malachi’s day, they followed the rituals, but they had no relationship with God, nor did they offer sacrifices according to God’s standards. God said, “You despise My name.” The verb for “despise” means they “keep on despising,” “you keep on giving little worth to something,” or you “undervalue something or someone and implied contempt.
David was a man after God’s own heart, yet God said David despised the Lord. After David took Bathsheba as his wife, Nathan the prophet went to rebuke David, “Now therefore, the sword shall never depart from your house, because you have despised Me, and have taken the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be your wife.” (2 Sam. 12:10)
Let me illustrate the concept of despising someone. Let us say you borrowed a truck. You really needed to do some hard work and in the process you get the outside and inside of the truck rather dirty with mud. You also made frequent stops to McDonald’s, Wendy’s, Burger King and Arby’s and you left the wrapping and leftovers on the back floor. You use up the gas tank, but when you return the key to the owner, you say, “Thanks for letting me use the truck.” You may have said, “Thanks,” but leaving the truck dirty, trashed out and gas on E is showing big time contempt for the owner. That is what God says Israel was doing.
Let me illustrate from Proverbs. Solomon writes, “He who walks in his uprightness fears the LORD, But he who is perverse in his ways despises Him.” (Pro. 14:2) The one who walks in a godly manner shows his fear and honor of the Lord. The one who is perverse shows by his actions what he is really saying, that is, “I don’t care what you say or think.” The actions show spite to the Lord. The actions speak louder than the words. Let me give one additional example.
Eli was made a priest in Israel during the time of the judges. He had two sons, Hophni and Phineahas. Eli told Hophni and Phineas what they were supposed to do and even rebuked them, BUT he did not insist, or train, or discipline them to do the right thing. Notice what God says,
- 27 Then a man of God came to Eli and said to him, “Thus says the LORD:`Did I not clearly reveal Myself to the house of your father when they were in Egypt in Pharaoh’s house?
- 28 `Did I not choose him out of all the tribes of Israel to be My priest, to offer upon My altar, to burn incense, and to wear an ephod before Me? And did I not give to the house of your father all the offerings of the children of Israel made by fire?
- 29 `Why do you kick at My sacrifice and My offering which I have commanded in My dwelling place, and honor your sons more than Me, to make yourselves fat with the best of all the offerings of Israel My people?’
- 30 “Therefore the LORD God of Israel says:`I said indeed that your house and the house of your father would walk before Me forever.’ But now the LORD says:`Far be it from Me; for those who honor Me I will honor, and those who despise Me shall be lightly esteemed.
- 31 `Behold, the days are coming that I will cut off your arm and the arm of your father’s house, so that there will not be an old man in your house. (1 Sam. 2:27-31)
God chose Levi to be the priest for Israel and Eli should have felt privileged as a Levite. With privilege comes responsibility, but Eli did not ensure his sons were discipled to do the right thing. He warned them, rebuked them, but did not insist that they honor the Lord. God said that Eli honored his sons more than God. Eli wouldn’t have seen it that way, but he did accept the Lord’s judgment.
God said that Eli kicked at the sacrifices by kicking dirt on them and then choosing the best meat from what was offered rather than just taking from the pot. Hence, God will honor those who honor Him, but make smaller (lightly esteem) those who made light of
Him. Furthermore, Eli’s arm (his power and sustenance) would be removed (that is neither he nor his sons would be in his house much longer). In 1 Samuel 4, Eli died when he heard both his sons died.
In Malachi 1:7, God continues charges against Israel, “You offer defiled food on My altar. But say, `In what way have we defiled You?’ By saying,`The table of the LORD is contemptible.’” The word for “defiled” means something has happened to the sacrifice so that it is no longer as it once was. Again, they would not say those words, but they did by their actions. Verse eight explains what God means.
In verse eight, God calls their actions evil. Evil? Yes, God calls their sacrifices “evil”! Malachi writes for God, “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.” (Mal. 1:8) How can an offering Israel offered be “evil”? God described how He wanted Israel to offer sacrifices in Leviticus. He writes,
· 19 `you shall offer of your own free will a male without blemish from the cattle, from the sheep, or from the goats.
· 20 `Whatever has a defect, you shall not offer, for it shall not be acceptable on your behalf.
· 21 `And whoever offers a sacrifice of a peace offering to the LORD, to fulfill his vow, or a freewill offering from the cattle or the sheep, it must be perfect to be accepted; there shall be no defect in it.
· 22 `Those that are blind or broken or maimed, or have an ulcer or eczema or scabs, you shall not offer to the LORD, nor make an offering by fire of them on the altar to the LORD. (Lev. 22:19-22)
And Moses wrote in Deuteronomy,
· 21 “But if there is a defect in it, if it is lame or blind or has any serious defect, you shall not sacrifice it to the LORD your God.” (Deut. 15:21)
When Israel offered a sacrifice that had sores, was blind or was lame, diseased, or torn from the teeth of an animal, God said it was not acceptable. So God tells Israel to offer it to the governor and asks if they think the governor would accept it. The implied answer is the governor would not accept it. So should God accept it? Israel might say, “But is God not a loving God? Does God care that much? He’ll accept it won’t He?”
2) Worship God with reverent fear 1:9-10
Even though God rebukes the people for their ungodly attitude and actions, the people ask the priests for God’s favor. They’re expecting He will provide, because they are, after all, God’s people.
· 9 “But now entreat God’s favor, that He may be gracious to us. While this is being done by your hands, Will He accept you favorably?” Says the LORD of hosts. (Mal. 1:9)
They want the blessings in spite of their unawareness. In spite of God’s rebukes they still want God’s blessings. They are more concerned about blessings than presence. But God rebukes the people in verse ten.
In verse 10, God says, “Enough is enough!” Malachi records, “Who is there even among you who would shut the doors, So that you would not kindle fire on My altar in vain? I have no pleasure in you,” Says the LORD of hosts, “Nor will I accept an offering from your hands.” God wants to know if there is anyone who will shut the door of the temple to stop this parade of defilement from entering the holy halls of the temple. “Someone, shut the door!” The expression “invain,” (chinam) means “uselessly,” “for nothing,” or “for no purpose.” “Don’t let that in My house! Would there be someone that says, don’t bring those sacrifices, if they are second hand.”
I have offended people, to which I make no apology, because I told people not to give their cast offs to the church. Don’t bring in your old televisions, your old couches, or something else, if you have replaced them with something better at home. Someone might say, “But it’s for the youth and they’ll just tear it up.” Does God give you leftovers? Don’t bring it to church, unless it is for the Rummage Sale. God says. “It is useless, I will not accept it.” God would rather someone shut the doors of the temple than let this go on.
But doesn’t God need my handout? Isaiah makes that very clear for us in Isaiah 1,
· 11 “To what purpose is the multitude of your sacrifices to Me?” Says the LORD. “I have had enough of burnt offerings of rams And the fat of fed cattle. I do not delight in the blood of bulls, Or of lambs or goats.
· 12 “When you come to appear before Me, Who has required this from your hand, To trample My courts?
· 13 Bring no more futile sacrifices; Incense is an abomination to Me. The New Moons, the Sabbaths, and the calling of assemblies– I cannot endure iniquity and the sacred meeting.
· 14 Your New Moons and your appointed feasts My soul hates; They are a trouble to Me, I am weary of bearing them.
· 15 When you spread out your hands, I will hide My eyes from you; Even though you make many prayers, I will not hear. Your hands are full of blood. (Is. 1:11-15)
God doesn’t need sacrifices, we do. Righteous sacrifices show we understand God is holy. We need to sacrifice regularly, because it reminds us of having a reverent fear of God and teaches our dependence upon Him. Many offer up what is left over, things already used, the tired, the sick, the poor and they still ask God for more! Let me illustrate.
How long can you fool your boss? Let’s say you get together with some Christian friends and you are having a great time. Laughing together, sharing in fellowship and you might even be spiritual by talking about the message. Those spiritual Euchre cards come out and all of a sudden you realize it is 3 a.m. You go home, get a few hours of sleep, drink some coffee and do the best you can at work.
The next night, you get together again with your friends, because you hadn’t had so much fun in years and things lead to the Euchre cards and again, it’s 3 a.m. You rush home get a few hours of sleep and drink a lot of coffee. How will your work be? There may be simple mistakes, missed meetings and assignments become sloppy. You can fool the boss some of the time, but eventually, what would the boss do? He will give you a pink slip.
The boss wants only the best attitude and actions at work. Should we give the Lord any less than that when it comes to worship? Only the best should be given to the Lord, not leftovers.
We get tired on a busy Saturday at the park and stay up late Saturday night. So we are not alert on Sunday, we don’t sing out and we’re not as concerned about other brethren. That is “blind, lame, sick” worship and effort on our part. Parents, do you to prepare your children so they are ready to learn and worship God!
Worship God with honor. Worship God with reverent fear. And when you come, worship God with pure offerings.
3) Worship God with pure offerings 1:11-14
At some point in the future, there will be pure offerings.
· 11 For from the rising of the sun, even to its going down, My name shall be great among the Gentiles; In every place incense shall be offered to My name, And a pure offering; For My name shall be great among the nations,” Says the LORD of hosts. (Mal. 1:11)
This verse 11 is a prophecy of the Millennium. There were no pure offerings during Malachi’s time, nor for the next 400 years, nor during the time when Jesus walked on earth, but there will be in the Millennium. There will be pure offerings in the Millennium, because Jesus ensures purity of sacrifices. Yet verse twelve explains how they were failing in their worship.
In verse twelve, Malachi rebukes their attitude by means of observing their actions.
· 12 “But you profane it, in that you say, `The table of the LORD1 is defiled; And its fruit, its food, is contemptible.’ (Mal. 1:12)
The word for “profane” (chalal) is an intensive use of the verb and means to “make light of” or “not hold the offering with reverence.” The ATTITUDE is seen in the ACTION. Some give what is left over after monthly bills, etc. Some believe they can spend their income on themselves and have nothing to give to God. If you spend more on pleasure and entertainment than on the Lord, there is something wrong with your thinking.
The Lord reveals the problem is even worse.
· 13 You also say, `Oh, what a weariness!’ And you sneer at it,” Says the LORD of hosts. “And you bring the stolen, the lame, and the sick; Thus you bring an offering! Should I accept this from your hand?” Says the LORD. (Mal. 1:13)
The people are bored with the sacrificial rituals. They consider it a waste. They were tired of doing the same thing over and over. In fact they sneered at it and the verb means they caused others to sneer at it or treat it with contempt. In fact, the priests said it was okay to bring in animals that were robbed from the mouth of a lion or wolf. The word, “stolen” means torn away like a sheep from the teeth of a wolf or lion.
God is very clear. Holy sacrifices are to be given, because of Who He is.
· 14 “But cursed be the deceiver Who has in his flock a male, And takes a vow, But sacrifices to the Lord what is blemished– For I am a great King,” Says the LORD of hosts, “And My name is to be feared among the nations. (Mal 1:14)
Do not make a vow for a sacrifice and then reconsider and give what is blemished. God is “a great King.” In fact, He is the Lord of hosts, or Lord of the armies. Israel did not treat God as a great King. Does America?
Instead of holy worship of the Lord, America is being deceived that Al-qaeda and Islamic Jihadism is not a terrorist threat. And hence, Islam is a viable alternative. Tell that to the victims of the Fort Hood terrorist attack, or the Boston marathon bombing or the Americans killed on Libyan soil. Enough is enough.
Instead of promoting the National Day of Prayer, the nation supports the Islamic prayer schedule. Enough is enough.
Instead of defending Christians and their places of worship, our nation has removed troops from Iraq and Afghanistan so the al-qaeda would have freedom to destroy Christian places of worship. And There was no outrage spoken from our highest office? Enough is enough.
The withdrawal of troops and combat operations with a shift to intelligence gathering and law enforcement is merely smoke and mirrors deception so the enemy can gain power in the Middle East to serve as a launching pad to neutralize Europe and the United States. Enough is enough.
The only reason there have not been more attacks in America is because of the ineptness of the enemy and the remnant of believers who are pursuing the Lord Jesus Christ. Yet, the enemy will not stop with the World Trade Center destruction until he destroys our economy and reshapes our laws. Enough is enough.
Instead of responding to warnings about the Tsarnaev brothers, the botched FBI investigation allowed the Boston bomber Muslims to complete their mission. And the country wants 11 million illegal aliens from whatever foreign countries to continue living in America. But the administration refuses to grant asylum to a Christian family who fled from Germany. The Administration is seeking to deport them because the Romeikes want to home school their family. Germany had outlawed homeschooling. The administration argues that their problems are not great enough to grant asylum, but argues to give full citizenship to any Muslims and other illegal aliens. Enough is enough.
But those are only the tangible evidence that America is worshiping something other than the Lord. We are a country who worships so many things other than the Lord. We worship sports stars and rock stars. America flocks to theaters to see screen stars and music stars. America rushes to sacrifice so much to climb the corporate ladder, while their family falls off the wagon. America buys into the American dreams and forgets about God’s gifts of peace, hope and love.
How would America respond to accusations that it is turning from God? America would say, “We’re the greatest country on earth!” “We help so many.” “We’re a good country.” “We’re not against God.” “We go to church.” That is when it suits our cause.
God deserves 100% of our best preparation
and worship to honor Him.
- I honor God when I start to prepare for worship on Monday. My quiet time and walk prepare me to approach Him in singing and encouraging and learning. Do I set aside for God the first of my time and income?
- Godly preparation focuses my attention on heaven, rather than on problems. I prepare well so my attention can be above, not distracted by below. Do I give God the best of my alertness for church and service?
- My offerings to God must be pure and holy. Do I honor God by the way I talk, walk, dress, eat, live, sleep, exercise, keep His Word? Is your daily walk pure and holy?
Let me close with this passage.
- 19 Therefore, brethren, having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus,
- 20 by a new and living way which He consecrated for us, through the veil, that is, His flesh,
- 21 and having a High Priest over the house of God,
- 22 let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.
- 23 Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful.
- 24 And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works,
- 25 not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.
- 26 For if we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins,
- 27 but a certain fearful expectation of judgment, and fiery indignation which will devour the adversaries. (Heb. 10:19-27)
People often are entranced by what is interesting, new or different. God is clear about what we should do.
Message Based Discussion Questions
1) When and what were you taught about giving to God?
2) Read Leviticus 22:17-24. What were God’s expectations regarding the sacrifices?
3) What did God expect from Eli and his sons (1 Sam. 2:12-17, 22-35)? Who did Eli favor according to God? What promise did God make?
4) What does this passage and the previous questions say about God’s desire for our heart (cf. Ps. 51:16-17)?
5) Does Hebrews 10:19-27 give room for casual preparation and worship? How or in what way?
Making application of the message to life:
6) How well prepared do you need to be for Sunday worship? What kinds of things should be considered throughout the week?
7) How would you disciple a brand new Christian on how to prepare for and involvement in worship?
I. Indifference to God’s love 1
A. The Lord’s love declared 1:1-5
B. The Lord’s love despised 1:6-14
II. Indifference to God’s law 2
A. The priest’s violation of the law 2:1-9
B. The people’s violation of home laws 2:10-17
III. Indifference to God’s message 3
A. The coming judgment 3:1-6
B. The current judgment 3:7-15
C. The circle of faith 3:16-18
IV. Indifference to the Day of the Lord