Thursday, April 19, 2012

Who Among You?–Malachi 1:10-14


10“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.

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.

12  “But you profane it, In that you say, ‘The table of the Lord is defiled;  And its fruit, its food, is contemptible.’
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.
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.
Malachi 1:10-14

Who is there even among you?
My mind immediately raced to the account in Genesis 18 where Abraham is pleading with God to save the city of Sodom.  Is there even 10 men who are obedient to God that He should save the city of Sodom?  But, there was not even 10.  
It is a sad day for a nation where none can be found that have a heart for the Lord and a desire to do His will.  Malachi had a tough task.  He had to preach to a people who’s hearts were cold toward God. 
Noah was also faced with this situation in Genesis 6.   He was the only righteous man of his day.  Can you imagine being the only one to stand up for truth in the midst of a horribly wicked people.  It can be very hard and lonely standing up for truth when no one else is.  I am saying that yet I have never even encountered what Noah did nor to the extent that he did.  What a powerful testimony! 
Sometimes we fall at the slightest adversity.  Imagine Noah’s resolve! 
John MacArthur states, “God, speaking in the first person, desired for someone to shut the temple doors, thereby preventing the useless, insincere presentation of sacrifices.  It would be better to stop all sacrifices than to offer insincere offerings.”
His statement almost sounds like a verse in Revelation that says,

 “I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot. So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth…”
Revelation 3:15-16

This is so applicable to our lives.  God doesn’t want us merely going through the motions of what we should be doing as Christians.  He wants us to be sincere!  We shouldn’t be Christians by mouth only, but through our obedience (full wholehearted obedience) to Christ.  We should have a resolve like Noah’s that says no matter what we encounter or who opposes us we will obey.
Let’s end with some great news.  No matter what we may face here on earth there is coming a day when God’s Name will be great among every nation, every tribe, and every people.  We might not understand everything fully right now, but there is a reason that God wants our full obedience (even when it doesn’t make sense).  I am sure to Noah building an ark didn’t make complete sense at first. 
Verse 11 points us to a future day when the Lord will reign victorious.  We don’t want to look back then and wish we could have been more obedient.  Let’s take Malachi’s words to heart (even though they are for the Israelites) and be obedient to what we know God has told us to do. 
I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.
Romans 12:1

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