A Living Sacrifice

Lately, I have been studying the book of Malachi in the Old Testament, actually the last book of the Old Testament. In reading chapter 1 of Malachi something stood out to me that had not stood out before. In this chapter, it is evident that the Lord is pretty ticked off about something specific. Specifically, the people have been bringing sacrifices to the Lord that are inadequate. In bringing sacrifices and offerings, it was required that the Israelites bring animals that did not have any defects (Leviticus). However, it is pretty clear from Malachi that the people were not doing this, but were bringing animals that were blind, lame and sick, which the Lord regarded as pure wickedness.

Such actions were evil because it showed that the Israelites had a low regard for the Lord, even after all that He had done for them. You have to remember that this is a people that God called to Himself, led out of Egypt safely, protected, fed, clothed, exalted, and so much more, and so for them to bring something less than their best was literally a smack in God’s face. Is it any wonder that God urged someone to shut the doors of the temple so that these imperfect sacrifices would stop?

Of course, we no longer offer these same sacrifices today as a result of the one-time sacrifice of Jesus that endures forever. However, we ourselves are living sacrifices and are urged by the Apostle Paul to present our bodies, to present our lives in such a manner that is pleasing and acceptable to the Lord. God calls this worship. Yet as I read the passage in Malachi, I thought about how our worship often resembles the sacrifices given by the Israelites thousands of years ago. No, we are not bringing defective animals, but we are not giving God our best. We give him the leftovers of ourselves, we offer Him the fragmented pieces of our time, talent, and treasure, only after we have given the world the very best of us.

How might God be asking us to realign our priorities so that we offer up to him this worship that is pure, unadulterated, and without defect? What do we need to stop doing? What do we need to start doing? God, who has given us His best in the form of His Son Jesus, deserves our best. Although what we offer God is no comparison to the sacrifice of Christ, God is pleased when we, with all of our hearts, give Him our complete selves.

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