Let my sacrifice by sweet

Reading: Malachi 1:6-14               

The Israelites were instructed regarding the sacrifices they were to present before YHWH in atonement for their sins. They sought forgiveness to restore their relationship with Him. Leviticus records the number of sacrifices and the purpose of these, along with the rules for offering these sacrifices. Even more amazing is that by the age of twelve, Jewish boys could recite the first five books of the Bible/Torah on demand. This speaks of a commitment from parents to teach their children the Torah.

However, as His chosen ones we no longer required to know when, what and how to sacrifice to restore a relationship, or atone for our sin. Yeshua came as the ultimate sacrifice! No longer do we need to build altars, sacrifice an animal to receive forgiveness and restoration. Yeshua came so that we are free from these laws! YHWH made restoration and forgiveness more accessible, and provided an open approach through Yeshua Messiah: “I (Yeshua) am the way, the truth and the light. No one comes to the Father but through Me.” (John 14:6)

BUT, when we approach YHWH we still need to check our attitude. In Malachi we read that the Lord was dissatisfied with the attitude with which the Israelites brought their sacrifice. The people brought their offering to the priest and the priest would sacrifice on their behalf. What was happening was that the Israelites were not bringing their best to the priest. The priest was accepting this, and in doing so was comprising his position. Do we as priests of YHWH compromise? The attitude of “Not 100%, but it will do” or “could be better, but it will do.” I find myself shaking my head in judgement at the nation. How could they think that second best would suffice? What were they thinking? The Set-Apart Spirit of Truth tapped me on the shoulder and asked, “Oh, and do you ALWAYS give the perfect offering of worship, devotion and time?”

We read that YHWH was angered by the LACK of respect, and fear, that the Israelites had for His Majesty. He was angered by the casual attitude of worship, the rituals that had become habits, and ruts, ingrained in daily worship. YHWH seeks an undivided heart, not half-heartedness. These people brought a substandard offering but expected supersized blessings. They kept the best for themselves, signalling that they put their own importance and will before that of YHWH. Do I bring half-hearted worship and expect things to fall into my lap? Is daily devotions a chore, done out of duty? Do we close the Bible and shut our minds to His Word as we face the busyness of the day? Yet we expect Father God to answer prayers, and often become despondent when He does not answer immediately. Yet, perhaps He does answer but we don’t like the answer, or neglect to stop to listen?

When Yeshua was in the garden, He was on His knees sweating blood and He asked His Father, “If this cup can but pass me by, yet Your will not Mine.” Soon after this an angel appeared and strengthened Him. Ever had an answer like that before? I asked for healing, but was told that I needed to walk through the valley for spiritual healing. This valley was chemotherapy and radiation sessions, but during the treatment period I was strengthened as He carried me daily in grace. In today’s society we praise a child for saying ‘thank you’, ‘excuse me’, ‘please’.. general manners. I think that manners matter to YHWH too. It is all about respecting the Creator. Do we really respect the King of Kings? I think many people have lost their fear because life is easy. We get away with things because everyone is too politically correct to point sin out. We are presenting substandard sacrifices to the King.

We arrive at church, ready to go home. We hope the sermon is short because the garden needs attention, shopping needs to be completed, the house needs cleaning or the ironing is piling up. We sing “How Great is our God.” while we are wondering about earthly issues – our lips move but our heart is divided. What is your heart offering? Do you sit and criticize the worship, the pastor and the message? Do we enter the building and leave the same way? Paul tells us that this is like a man who looks at his reflection in a mirror and forgets what he looks like. When you look in a mirror and notice something is not right we naturally fix it, be it hair a whisker or parsley in teeth.

How is your devotional time? Is it a quick, rushed ten minutes ending with a list that is prayed, followed by a quick verse? Or do you put aside quality time that is enough time to come into His presence and sit at His feet. Time enough for the Father to talk to you and for you to hear Him. Time where you push through prayer and allow the Spirit to reveal God’s Word to you. Is your time with Him an habitual ritual? Do you do devotions to stay in His good books? We are told to love Him with all our heart, mind and soul – undivided. Jesus tells us to come to Him and He will give us rest. Mary sat at the feet of the Saviour, she received from Him. Martha could have done that too, but she was too aware that if she did not present her human best effort it would not go down well, pride. Jesus told her that Mary had taken the right choice. Mary recognised that spending time with Jesus was more important than what others would say about the presentation of a meal.

Who is your time with God about? 90% you and 10% worshipping His name? I know that we are supposed to give our tenth, but that is earning not spiritual time. Quality matters to YHWH, not quantity. He desires your full and undivided attention. I know we all have jobs (God-given), homes (blessings from the Father) and families (more blessings) and these things need attention, but we need to prioritize. We read, “Seek ye first the Kingdom of God and ALL things shall be added unto you.” This speaks of not only physical things, but most importantly of the spiritual tools to bring glory to the King.

Verse 17, “You have wearied the Lord with your words.” Bring an honourable act of worship to God. Adjust your heart before you approach the Almighty God. Sing His praises with true meaning, thinking of Him and putting aside yourself. Take up your cross before you approach the throne. Don’t let your time with Him be crippled with the burdens that you are dragging around. Don’t be deafened by your inability to shut out the noise of the world and hear His voice – take time to listen. If you are singing and dancing to Him, do so with a contrite heart. Don’t sing songs that have no meaning or don’t make sense – be selective in what you sing to the King. In Revelations we read of simple songs that are sung to YHWH, ‘Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty’. Put aside your TV remote, laptop, iPad, iPhone (they all start with I???). Pick up His Word, become quiet and soak in His love for you. Receive His rest and peace that is freely available – sit at His feet. Open your eyes, look outside and see His glory in nature. Whatever you do, do it unto God and not man. Don’t try and serve God with human rituals and habits, He is far above us and nothing we do can bring Him the glory and honour He is due.

Give YHWH the best of you, give Him quality time and song. Sacrifice your will to honour Him. He desires the worship worthy of a King. He is to be awed and esteemed above all. He is and was and is to come. We fear Him, not because we are scared, but because we love Him. We need to fear YHWH, with a fear that is based in respect, fear that is healthy and brings a desire to serve, worship and want to be called, ‘My loved servant, whom I am well-pleased with.’

Nobody can change your attitude, you need to do that. Don’t blame the worship team, the air conditioning, the sound team or pastor – they are NOT your sacrifice or worship. Your heart, soul, and mind, are your vessels of worship and sacrifice. What will you bring before your King? What will you lay on the altar of praise? But by the blood of the Son can we approach the King of Kings. Chosen ones, the bride of Yeshua.

Oh Lord, may my worship and prayer be pleasant to You. May my deeds and motives be pure in Your sight and bless You. You are omnipotent and awesome and I want to fear You, I desire You to be proud of me and say of me that I am your servant and that You are well-pleased with me. Amen