Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered outside the gate. Therefore, let us go forth to him outside the camp, bearing his reproach. For we have no continuing city here, but we seek one to come.
Select a thought to read by choosing a collection, the month, and then the day:
“The burden of the word of the Lord to Israel by Malachi.”
God made at least seven comments to Israel through Malachi, to which His people responded with haughty, indignant questions, challenging His wisdom and justice. God’s words were simple and true, but by that time in Israel’s history, they had been so badly taught by their ministers that even simple truth was too much for them to bear.
“And this you have done, covering the altar of the LORD with tears, with weeping, and with crying out, insomuch that He does not regard the offering any more, or receive it with good will at your hand. Yet you say, ‘Why?’ ”
Jesus told us not to offer worship to God if we have mistreated a brother or a sister. He said, “If you bring your gift to the altar, and there you remember that your brother has something against you, leave there your gift before the altar and go your way. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift” (Mt. 5:23-24).
It matters to God how we treat people. The greatest of all the commandments, Jesus said, is the commandment to love God with all our heart. But the second greatest, he said, “is like it.” Then he told what, in God’s sight, was the second greatest commandment that He had ever given His people: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”
It is remarkable how much of the Law of Moses concerns how we are to treat one another. There were plenty of regulations concerning the proper way of worship, to be sure; but the rest of the Law dealt with our conduct toward each other.
Malachi was reminding the leaders of Israel that their maltreatment of their wives made their worship unacceptable to God, but in their opinion, God would never refuse offerings from such important and wise men as they were.
Always remember that God is not obligated to accept any of us. We worship humbly because we know that God does not have to receive our praise or our prayers. And He will not receive our worship if prior to our gathering together to worship Him, we did wrong to our neighbor, or to our wife, or to our children.