The Lord of Heaven’s Armies says to the priests: “A son honors his father, and a servant respects his master. If I am your father and master, where are the honor and respect I deserve? You have shown contempt for my name!
“But you ask, ‘How have we ever shown contempt for your name?’
“You have shown contempt by offering defiled sacrifices on my altar.
“Then you ask, ‘How have we defiled the sacrifices?’
“You defile them by saying the altar of the Lord deserves no respect.
When you give blind animals as sacrifices, isn’t that wrong?
And isn’t it wrong to offer animals that are crippled and diseased?
Relate: I have a bad habit of making great promises to God and not following through. It is usually around this time of year that I dream up all these great things I am going to do for God when the calendar rolls over. I have these great ideas of how I am going to change. I have visions of giving to God a new, more disciplined and surrendered life for the days that begin when the ball drops in Times Square.
But as I begin to look forward at the new, I also look back at the old. I see all the promises I didn’t keep. I see all the dreams and visions of a new me that are now old, stale, and broken. There were some great things I wanted to attempt for God that somehow never seemed to get off the ground. Somehow life got in the way. Somehow those great ideas kept getting put on the back shelf until they were forgotten. And all I ended up giving to God was a bunch of broken leftovers.
Relate: When God speaks to His people in Malachi 1, He is speaking to me. I think He isn’t just speaking to me but also to all in the church who are comfortable. He is saying, “Stop. Just… stop.” (1:10) What we are doing for God in making great claims but without power is bringing disrepute to His Name. But there is a church, a people who are those who still bring honor to His Name. There is a global church who is glorifying their King. (1:11) They are the ones who don’t just talk but actually do. They are the ones who don’t just make promises but actually follow through. (1:14) Dear God, let me be numbered among them this coming year.
God, I give You everything. I know I have done so before but I keep picking things back up that I have left at Your altar. Help me to keep them there. When I sacrifice to You, I want it to be my best, not just whatever is left over or whatever is convenient. Help me to give my all to You. Today. Tomorrow. Next year… and every day and minute in that year. It is all Yours. Help me to live surrendered. Help me to be the sacrifice.