May 3, 2005

Shut the doors

"Oh, that one of you would shut the temple doors, so that you would not light useless fires on my altar! I am not pleased with you," says the LORD Almighty, "and I will accept no offering from your hands."
--Malachi 1:10


Shut the doors! One of you, please shut the doors!

The first chapter in the book of Malachi is all about how the sacrifices of the people had become a ritual. They were doing what they were supposed to do, but they were not bringing their best. They were bringing the diseased, crippled and blind sacrifices. The garbage of the flock. The ones that were going to die anyway.

And God was not pleased.

Now, you might be thinking, "what does this have to do with me?" I will tell you: You, your life, is to be a sacrifice. What kind is it? Consider the words of Paul that he wrote to the people of the Roman Church:

Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship.
--Romans 12:1 (NIV)


Notice that living as sacrifices to God is worship. We are to offer ourselves up to Him. No longer is it about the animals that we bring; it is about the life that we bring. Worship isn't the song and dance that we put on at church. It is the life that we live Monday through Saturday. How different are we from these people? Are we only doing what we would do anyway?

Is it possible that God could be saying today,

"Shut the doors! Keep them out of the churches, their lives are detestable. Sure they come and sing their songs. Sure they lift up their hands in a show of worship, but the sacrifice is weak and lame and crippled. It is detestable! Oh, that someone would shut the doors!"