"A son honors his father, and a servant his master. If then I am a father, where is my honor? And if I am a master, where is my fear? says the LORD of hosts to you, O priests, who despise my name. But you say, 'How have we despised your name?'...When you offer blind animals in sacrifice, is that not evil? And when you offer those that are lame or sick is that not evil? Present that to your governor; will he accept you or show you favor?"
Malachi 1:6-8 (ESV)
"Cursed is the cheat who has an acceptable male in his flock and vows to give it, but then sacrifices a blemished animal to the Lord. For I am a great king,” says the LORD Almighty, “and my name is to be feared among the nations."
Malachi 1:14 (NIV)
So if they had the ability to offer God something better, why were they holding out on Him? Perhaps they were greedy and simply wanted to keep the best for themselves? That may have been part of their motivation, but God's diagnosis of their hearts reveals an even more tragic cause for their shoddy service to Him.
"You profane me when you say, 'Worship is not important, and what we bring to worship is of no account,' and when you say, 'I'm bored—this doesn't do anything for me.' You act so superior, sticking your noses in the air... And when you do offer something to me, it's a hand-me-down, or broken, or useless."
Malachi 1:11-13 (The Message)
These priests did not recognize what an honor it was to be in their role of serving God and His people. It seems there was a deficiency in their love and view of God which made worship and service seem like a chore or a burden, rather than a privilege. That being said, we shouldn't get too comfortable pointing out their sins. It's all too easy for us to fall into a similar pattern of irreverence and offensive offerings. Next week, in Part 2, we'll try to make some practical applications from this study and explore what it looks like to give God our best and guard against the "good enough for church" mindset.