Malachi 1.6-14 (Study And Application)
Malachi 1.6-14 (Worship) SPOTTED OFFERINGS AND MISDIRECTED HEDONISM (6-8)
Our actions are often the result of our affections. We do what our hearts want. Malachi is an immensely practical book as it illustrates what it looks like to be a people with misguided affections resulting in sinful actions. In Malachi 1.6-14 we see a people made for God’s glory worshiping creation instead of the Creator. As we encounter a people more enamored with their gifts than the Giver we are confronted with our own sinful tendency to treasure trinkets more than Christ. In the first verse of this passage we hear the rebuke, through God’s questions, that He is not being honored as the Father or feared as the Master. His name is despised by polluted offerings. The picture of the priests bringing spotted sacrifices is illustrative of half-hearted worship flowing forth from half-hearted worshipers.
Giving God What You Won’t Miss, Giving God What You Don’t Want (6-7)
Hopefully, we would readily confess that we give God less than He deserves. However, identifying the specific areas where we need the most growth can be difficult. The following questions focus on the clock and on cash as a framework for discerning where you are giving God what you won’t miss and what you don’t want.
- What does your average weekly schedule look like? Write out what it has been, not what you want it to be. Does this schedule reflect someone who is living for God’s glory? Would others look at the way you spend your time and say you love Jesus more than television, for example? Now, make an ideal schedule that reflects an understanding that your time is God’s time and that you want to worship Him with the clock.
- Cash can’t lie and where your treasure is there your heart is. Evaluating how you spend money is a practical way of seeing what’s important to you. If you don’t have a budget (or a budget that’s accurate) make one. Who or what is worshipped by this budget? If someone saw your budget would they know you love Jesus? Is there something that needs to change with the way you spend money?
- It is right to see the gifts you have as good things. It is right to treasure gifts that God has given (such as a spouse, children, your health, etc.) What is not right is turning these good things into gods. How do you treasure Christ with your treasures? Are you holding too tightly to anything other than Jesus? What, other than Jesus, if you lost right now would destroy you?
Why We Bring Leftovers (8)
One of the questions raised in verse 8 is why we think we can get away with such weak worship. We would rarely insult an earthly leader with the level of disrespect and disinterest we so often give God. In truth, we often give much more honor and interest to our celebrities, our employers, our friends and our stuff than we do the LORD Of Hosts, the Great King. Our misplaced worship often flows from devaluing God and overvaluing stuff. In other words, we have very dim views of God and very inflated views of everything else.
- Read Genesis 1; Psalm 29, Psalm 145; Isaiah 6.1-7, Isaiah 46; Colossians 1.15-20; and Revelation 4-5. What do these passage do to your understanding of who God is? What needs to change about your view of God from these passages?
- Read Psalm 27, Psalm 73 and Psalm 84. Is this how you feel about God? In what ways does your life reflect the love for God that is found in these Psalms?
GOD WILL BE GREAT (9-11)
Two times in verse 11 we read the phrase; “my name will be great among the nations.” God is passionate for His glory. He is a great God and will be praised as a great God. Spotted offerings and weak worship are offensive and intolerable to Him. The following questions are hard but if received as God’s discipline, producing godly grief, they will bring a godly life.
God Hates Half-Hearted Worship
Read through the following passages; Matt 15.7-9; Rev 3.15-22, Isa 1.12-15.
- How does God feel about half-hearted worship?
- Read Malachi 1.10-11. How do you feel about half-hearted worship? When was the last time you were angry because God was not being glorified?
WEAK WORSHIP (12-14)
Weak worship is a disease that brings death and decay to our lives and our churches. All around us we can see the rotting effects of “nominal Christianity.” Half-hearted Christians are often hell bound people (see Revelation 3.14-22) who confuse our culture about Christianity, live unproductive selfish lives, and teach others to do the same.
Your Weak Worship Is Unacceptable, And Yet Teach It’s Fine (12-13)
- Can you think of specific examples of how churches teach that nominal Christianity is acceptable?
- What does lukewarm Christianity look like? In what ways is your life teaching others that a lukewarm life is fine?
Your Weak Worship Has Hardened Your Heart, And You Don’t Even Care (13)
As God rebukes His people for bringing weak worship we see a sad and too common response, that of scoffing. In verse 13 we actually see people snorting at God and claiming that His discipline is wearisome. Weak worship hardens our hearts from caring that we have offended God and from hearing his word to us.
- Do you love discipline or do you hate reproof? (see Proverbs 12.1)
- How do you see the hardening of hearts in the church today? Where do you see this verse played out in your own life?
Your Weak Worship Has Cursed You, What Will You Do? (14)
- What does your weak worship deserve?
- What have you done to be cursed?
Malachi 1 ends with a promise based upon an eternal truth; God is a great King (truth), and His name will be feared among the nations (promise). In light of these realities we must respond. It is foolish and deadly to read the rebukes issued in this chapter and walk away unchanged, unchallenged, and unrepentant. God is a great King and His name will be feared, but is He your King and do you fear Him?
Repent Of Your Half-Hearted Worship (You Need The Gospel: The Perfect Worshiper)
The curse claimed in Malachi 1.14 is rightfully earned by everyone for their half-hearted worship. Many times over we have all vowed to God what we have kept for ourselves. Our hope comes not first and foremost by becoming perfect worshippers but by repenting of our cruse-deserving, God-offending, half-hearted, weak worship and turning to the perfect worshiper, the spotless offering, Jesus Christ.
- How is Jesus’ life credited to us?
- Why do we need Jesus to be the perfect worshiper for us?
- How does the Gospel allow us to hear the rebuke of this passage, repent and be transformed, while not experiencing condemnation or worldly grief?
Confess Your Need For A Curse Bearer (You Need The Gospel: The Spotless Offering)
Malachi 1 leaves all who read it with the knowledge they should be cursed for their careless worship. As you repent of half-hearted worship it is important to also confess the need for a Curse-Bearer to stand in your place for unfaithful and dishonoring worship to God.
- How does Jesus bear the curse that you deserve for worshipping other gods?
- What does it mean to believe that Jesus is the Spotless Offering, the Perfect Worship? Why is this good news for Christians that are loved by God as they are in Christ? (See Hebrews 9-10)
Loved Much. Love Much. (Affections)
John Owen says this; “So much as we see of the love of God, so much shall we delight in Him, and no more.” Malachi 1.6-14 points out clearly that our affections for God are too small and our appetites too easily satisfied by lesser pleasures. One of the best antidotes for lukewarm affections for God is to meditate upon the Gospel of Christ. It is impossible to see what Jesus has done in your place without being moved with love for Him. Use the following questions to help you see God’s love and learn to delight in Him and in no more.
- What did Jesus do to forgive your sins? What sins did Jesus pay for?
- What did it cost God to bear your curse for half-hearted worship?
Speaking And Showing, Satisfied And Singing (Actions From Affections)
As we see the Gospel and taste its goodness our appetites are changed and we long to fast from this world so we can feast on God. Our passions shift, our priorities are reordered, and we become a people who long to bring God more than leftovers. Below you will find the lyrics from the hymn; Take My Life And Let It Be. As you read through this hymn, answering questions as you go, ask God to make it both your request and your confession. As a request the song becomes a petition that God take your life, even when you don’t want to give it; as a confession, the song becomes a statement that your life is His and His alone.
Take My Life And Let It Be (word by Frances Havergal)
Take my life, and let it be consecrated, Lord, to Thee. Take my moments and my days; let them flow in ceaseless praise. Take my hands, and let them move at the impulse of Thy love. Take my feet, and let them be swift and beautiful for Thee.
- What would change in your life right now if every morning you asked God to take ever moment of the coming day and use it to praise Him?
- What are specific ways that God is using, or wants to use, your hand and your feet to bring Him glory in your city?
Take my voice, and let me sing always, only, for my King. Take my lips, and let them be filled with messages from Thee. Take my silver and my gold; not a mite would I withhold. Take my intellect and use, every power as You choose.
- Is God’s Word in your mind and heart so when your voice sings and your lips speak they are filled with messages from Him?
- What mites are you holding that God wants you to give? Are you generous in light of the Cross or do you give the minimum you can to not feel guilty?
- Are all your gifts, every power, used for His glory or your fame?
Take my will, and make it Thine; it shall be no longer mine. Take my heart, it is Thine own; it shall be Thy royal throne. Take my love, my Lord, I pour at Thy feet its treasure store. Take myself, and I will be ever, only, all for Thee.
- What does it look like practically in your life to have your will be God’s will?
- Is your heart God’s throne? Is He your passion? Is Jesus your ultimate love?
- How does the Gospel produce this song without producing condemnation?