Monday, January 18, 2010

Daily Ponderings: Malachi 1:13b-14

"When you bring injured, crippled or diseased animals and offer them as sacrifices, should I accept them from your hands?" says the LORD.  "Cursed is the cheat who has an acceptable male in his flock and vows to give it, but then sacrifices a blemished animal to the Lord. For I am a great king," says the LORD Almighty, "and my name is to be feared among the nations. ~ Malachi 1:13b-14
Offering sacrifice has been a part of the old world since time immemorial.  For the monotheistic Hebrew people, animal sacrifices were made as an offering of thanksgiving for blessing such as rainfall, good harvest, birth of a child, etc.  Sometimes they were made to make God happy or to appease Him for sins they had committed.  The animals offered were not your ordinary animal from the herd; they were the best of the best.  God was very particular about this.  Remember Cain and Abel?  Cain brought "some of the fruits of the soil" while his brother, Abel, brought "fat portions from some of the firstborn from his flock".   God is not going to settle for the ordinary because He is God.

In this day and age, what do we offer to God as sacrifice?  Since we neither bring our first harvest from our crops nor the firstborn from our flock, what are the things that we offer to God then?   Theoretically, this is very easy.  We've heard it preached in the pulpit many times; bring your tithes and offerings to the house of the Lord.  So we write a check and assume that our job is done.  Sorry to disappoint you but the scripture says that that's not enough.  We are urged to bring our bodies, holy and acceptable, as offering to God.  For our bodies to be acceptable to Him, we need to be in the best of our best behavior and doing the best of our best deeds.  It says in Malachi that if you still can do better than what you're already giving or doing then you are cheating God and He is very put out.

Oh my Holy God, I am yours.  Teach me daily to strive towards holiness.  Help me to do my very best for you and for others for this is pleasing to you.  I cannot do this on my own, so help me.

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