If you do not listen, and if you do not take it to heart to give honor to My name,” says the Lord of hosts, “then I will send the curse upon you and I will curse your blessings; and indeed, I have cursed them already, because you are not taking it to heart. | Malachi 2:2
The minor prophets, like Malachi in this portion, acted as the Lord’s prosecuting attorneys. They brought God’s charges against the nation of Israel.
In Malachi chapter 2, we read that the priests were called out for their offenses against the Lord. While they were dutifully performing their sacrifices, they were not doing so with the proper offerings. While they were performing their responsibility of judging the people, they were doing so unfairly. They instructed the people, but not according to God’s wisdom.
They were religious hypocrites who fulfilled their commitments while grumbling about their service.
The particulars of their sin, with obscure Levitical laws and animal sacrifices, seems strange to us. But the root problem is one that we’re all familiar with. They were doing all the right things, but with the wrong motivations.
God is not honored when we
begrudgingly serve Him.
There are hundreds of stories in the Bible with examples of people serving God flawlessly – at least according to the law – that God was displeased with (i.e. the Pharisees). There are also many examples of people breaking “the rules” that God is very pleased with (i.e. King Hezekiah in 2 Chronicles 29-30).
Does serving God ever seem wearisome to you?
Serving God cannot be the #1 priority in your life. I would submit to you that those who make it their topmost priority often serve with less joy than those whose service simply flows from their worship.
Our service to the Lord should flow this way:
- Repentance & restoration
We can only truly serve God well
when we worship Him first.
When I talk about worship, I’m talking about time spent alone with the Lord praising Him and pouring out our love for Him – remembering who He is and what He has done.
Do you really adore God? Are you ever distracted thinking about Him? Are you truly grateful for the salvation you’ve received from Him along with the blessings upon blessings He has heaped upon you? Do you have awe and reverence for the Lord, or are you only moved when with others singing and being reminded through others’ beautiful thoughts?
Going through the religious motions does not honor God and neither does a casual commitment to Christ without a real concern for obedience.
If serving the Lord feels like a burden, don’t convince yourself that pushing through will eventually lead to you being a better follower of Christ. Don’t believe the lie that the things you’re doing in service will be a sweet smelling sacrifice to God. If serving the Lord is hard, and you find it easy to criticize those who are working alongside of you, check your heart and your motivations.
If you are in love with the Lord simply because of who He is, then you won’t be able to help but worship Him with your whole life. After that, the giving of yourself – time, money, and talents – will be both a desire and a delight.