“It is you priests who show contempt for my name. But you ask, ‘How have we shown contempt for your name?’ By offering defiled food on my altar.” (Malachi 1:6b-7a)
The book of Malachi highlights something that we don’t really talk about much, and that’s the heart of worship. Particularly when it comes to a worship service, there is a temptation to use the time as an effort to manipulate God. How does a person do that? Malachi says by bringing anything but the best sacrifices to worship the King. In his day it was lame animals; in our day it’s cluttered hearts, distracted minds, and lifeless observation.
When we come to worship in an effort to “get right with God” so we can go back home and live however we want, then we’re trying to manipulate Him just like the Israelites. Essentially what we’re saying to God is, “God, you’re so dumb. I’ll come here and confess my sins so I can go back and do it all over again. It’s a game: you know it, and I know it. I’m just so clever that I’ve figured out how to play it.”
Deep down we know that’s not real worship, and God knows it, too. True worship involves sacrifice and brokenness. It’s interesting to note that when Israel lost it’s ability to truly worship, God became silent for around 400 years. Malachi was the last prophet through whom God spoke until John the Baptist arrived on the scene.
So how is your worship? Is God silent in your life? Maybe it’s because your worship is less than what it needs to be.
Father, I don’t want my relationship with You to be about playing games. I don’t want to try to manipulate or force Your hand into doing whatever it is that I desire. Instead, I want to come to You in true brokenness. Let me fall at Your feet in such a way, and be pleased to renew me by Your Spirit.