Disrespecting God

Introduction

In this lesson we are going to look at the first chapter of Malachi to learn a lesson about disrespecting God.  We may indeed find that we disrespect God many times.  What do we put ahead of God?  Do we truly honor God?  How do you honor God in your life?

Some may go through the religious motions by going to church every week, but does that mean that they honor God or respect God?  The fact of the matter is that we should honor God and that our esteem for God should be evident in the things that we do.

We will learn in Malachi how the priests of God dishonored him.  They were going through the motions of the daily sacrifices in the temple and yet their hearts were far from it.  Their disrespect for God caused the people to follow suit.  Therefore we should be careful how we treat the Lord by our actions because those who are not Christians will think little of God because of us.

Lesson

Malachi 1:1 (NKJV) -- {1} The burden of the word of the Lord to Israel by Malachi.

The word “burden” is translated from the Hebrew word, massa, which implies that bad news was coming.  It set a sad tone for the message to follow.

Massa was used in other prophetic writings to introduce messages of a threatening nature (Is 13:1; 14:28; Nahum 1:1; Hab 1:1; Zech 9:1).

The phrase, “the word of the Lord” was used frequently at the beginning of prophecies.  It identified the prophecy as a revelation from God and that it had his authority.

The name “Malachi” means my messenger.  The priests would have been troubled by this since they were supposed to be God’s official messengers.

Love

Malachi 1:2-5 (NKJV) -- {2} “I have loved you,” says the Lord. “Yet you say, ‘In what way have You loved us?’ Was not Esau Jacob’s brother?” Says the Lord. “Yet Jacob I have loved; {3} But Esau I have hated, And laid waste his mountains and his heritage For the jackals of the wilderness.” {4} Even though Edom has said, “We have been impoverished, But we will return and build the desolate places,” Thus says the Lord of hosts: “They may build, but I will throw down; They shall be called the Territory of Wickedness, And the people against whom the Lord will have indignation forever. {5} Your eyes shall see, And you shall say, ‘The Lord is magnified beyond the border of Israel.’

God said that he loved them.  How did he love them (demonstrate that love?).

It is apparent that the people doubted or questioned God’s love for them.  This love was personal between God and Israel.

The fact that they doubted God’s love for them resulted in their love for god to wane.  Their doubt for God’s love probably originated in the fact that they were still not in the glorious state that they once were in.  Therefore, they probably reasoned that God abandoned them or probably didn’t care about them anymore.

  • We are likely to do the same thing.  If something does not go right or we do not achieve a certain goal by a particular time then we may think that God doesn’t care about us anymore

What love is referred to here?  What does God mean by, “I have loved you?” 

  • In the Old Testament, the world love here comes from the word ahab and means to love, like, be a friend, covenant loyalty.
  • We should note that God’s love for Israel was not an emotion response to them.  Malachi pointed out that God loved Jacob.  He chose Jacob even before he was born.  God’s love for Jacob had nothing to do with Jacob or what he did.  It has all to do with God’s choice (his election).
  • A response to God’s love is expected.  We should love God and honor him for example.  We should be obedient to Him.

There are many words for love in the New Testament, which was written in Greek.

  • Eros – sexual or romantic love
  • Phileo – natural affection
  • Philadelphia – brotherly love
  • Philia – friendship
  • Storge – natural affection between relatives
  • Agape – Moral goodwill that comes from esteem, principle, or duty.  It is an unconditional affection.  This is the love that God has for us.  It implies to love the undeserving.

God freely chose Israel (Jacob).  They were his chosen people by election alone.  There was nothing that they did as a people to merit God’s election.

Hate

  • Intense feeling of aversion or enmity
  • It may also refer to God’s rejection
  • See Luke 14:2 – Refers to important in decisions.  We should choose Jesus above all else.

Love and hate here refers to God’s selection and rejection respectively.  It was not an emotional response.

  • God loved Jacob – He chose Jacob
  • God rejected Essau – He did not choose Essau (he was rejected)

Love and hate here appears to deal with our relationship with God

Honoring God

Malachi 1:6-10 (NKJV) -- {6} “A son honors his father, And a servant his master. If then I am the Father, Where is My honor? And if I am a Master, Where is My reverence? Says the Lord of hosts To you priests who despise My name. Yet you say, ‘In what way have we despised Your name?’ {7} “You offer defiled food on My altar, But say, ‘In what way have we defiled You?’ By saying, ‘The table of the Lord is contemptible.’ {8} And when you offer the blind as a sacrifice, Is it not evil? And when you offer the lame and sick, Is it not evil? Offer it then to your governor! Would he be pleased with you? Would he accept you favorably?” Says the Lord of hosts. {9} “But now entreat God’s favor, That He may be gracious to us. While this is being done by your hands, Will He accept you favorably?” Says the Lord of hosts. {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.

The people evidently did not honor God.  A son honors his father and a master honors his master.  However, there was no honor given to God by the people (particularly the priests).

The priests despised the LORD.  How?

  • the offered defiled food
    • The offerings were defective (blind or diseased for example)
    • See Deuteronomy 15:21; Lev. 22:18-25).  They should not have been offering defective animals to God.
  • Note how we treat others and how we treat God
  • There sacrifices were therefore in vain so they would have done just as well to close the doors of the sanctuary so to speak.  Their offerings were useless

God’s Name

Malachi 1:11 (NKJV) -- {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.

Some say this refers to the future offerings. However, I believe it is a declaration of how it should be and how it will be.  God says that his name will be great.  In other words, He will be exalted and seen as great by everyone.  God will uphold his own name if he has to.

The disrespect the priests were showing God did not uphold God’s great name.  it would caused people (even the gentiles) to think little of God.  Imagine how other nations would think of us if we treated the President of the United States with disrespect and dishonor.

God’s name simply means God himself.

Malachi 1:12-14 (NKJV) -- {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.

The priests had little to no respect for God and it showed by their contemptible sacrifices.  They were just going through the motions – religion.  Their hearts were not in what they were doing.

God is to be upheld always.

Conclusion

We can disrespect God by the way we treat him and the way that people see that we treat him.  It is important that we honor God in all of our ways.  Religion is not the way to honoring God.  We have to have a personal and intimate relationship with God in order to truly honor him because it involves knowing him and his word and living it.

God chose us because of his own purpose.  We did nothing to deserve his love and yet he cares for us.  We should respond to God’s love with love, trust, and obedience.  We should honor him and uphold his good name to everyone that we can.  We should not disrespect God by allowing ourselves to take him for granted and accuse him falsely.

 


Disrespecting God
By William R. Cunningham
January 13, 2008