Monday December 21, 2020

Today’s Reading: Malachi 1:6-11

“A son honors [his] father, and a servant his master. But if I am a father, where is My honor? And if I am a master, where is [your] fear of Me?”

Malachi 1:6

Reflection: True worship always costs something. During the time of the prophet Malachi, the people worshipped God by offering sacrifices to Him at His Holy Temple. Sacrificing was a show of literally giving to God what was precious to them. Bulls, goats, lambs, fowl, and grain was offered to the LORD. Animal sacrifices made to God were supposed to be spotless, perfect, and healthy – the very best of what was available to the people. This is because the very best was what God deserved. But over time, the people began to keep for themselves what was best and offer God the leftovers. Sick, lame, deformed animals that no one wanted were sacrificed on the altar. Because priests received a portion of the offering as food, even they would complain about what was being offered to God (since it negatively affected them). These substandard offerings negated the point of worship and sacrifice altogether. The point of sacrificing animals became lost to the people’s selfishness and greed.

To Israel, God replies by saying, “Where is My honor?” and “Where is your fear of Me?” In other words, the poor sacrifices showed that the people did not respect or revere God. How might we be like this too sometimes? While we do not offer animal sacrifices to God in the way that the Israelites once did, we can still reflect on how we are attributing honor and due worship to God. How do we show Him that He is important to us?

Reflection Questions:

-We do not offer animal sacrifices as the Israelites did, but we still have the chance to Worship Our Lord through sacrifice in a different way. Recall something precious to you that you’ve given to God. Be specific. Was it easy or difficult to do?

-Recall this sacrifice again. Why did you do it? What prompted you to give up something that you valued?

-Whether or not you have already given up something to God or for God, you have the ability now. What is something significant to you that you can give up for God? Will you commit to this opportunity?

Prayer: Lord, You deserve true worship and praise. You are exalted over all creation, and more precious than anyone or anything. You alone deserve the best of what I can offer You. I pray that as am guided by You, Lord, that You would help me to surrender more of my life and myself to You for Your Glory. Let me not cling tightly to anything or anyone else but You. Instead, may it all fade away in light of the relationship we share. In Jesus’ Precious Name I pray, AMEN.

Thru the Bible in a year (credit: John 8:21-47; 2 Chronicles 2:17-5:1; Malachi 1:1-2:9