Are you giving God your all?

God’s statement through Malachi to the returned exiles is strong. He has no pleasure in them nor their offerings.

The returned exiles don’t recognize who God is — the Lord of hosts, the all sovereign God of the entire universe (Mal 1:11). Nor do they recognize the privilege position in which they sit under the love of God as His chosen covenant people — God chose Jacob over Esau because He loved Jacob and hated Esau (Mal 1:2-3). Not recognizing the magnitude and magnificence of God, they take Him for granted. They believe they can worship God any way they like and God should accept their half-hearted worship and even provide them blessings.

But should God be content with us worshipping Him in the ways in which we prescribe? Or should we seek to worship God according to His divine commands?

Consider how David would answer this question from the daily Psalm that accompanies the reading in Malachi.

“O God, you are my God; earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you; my flesh faints for you, as in a dry and weary land where there is no water.”

– Psalm 63:1

Does your soul thirst for God? Does your flesh faint for him? Do you desire God in such a way that you are driven to worship Him with your entire life? Seeking Him with all you have, recognizing He is the sustainer of your life?

The Israelites didn’t seek the Lord with all their soul. They simple went through the motions. Bringing sacrifices because they were required. Taking God for granted, they didn’t bring the best and the first. They offered the blind, the lame, the sick (Mal 1:8). They brought sacrifices to God that they would not bring to their secular rulers, expecting God to accept their offerings and bless them accordingly (Mal. 1:8b-9).

God doesn’t want our left overs! He doesn’t want our half-hearted worship. He wants all of us. He wants us to thirst for and hunger for Him as David did.

Do you thirst for the Lord? Are you giving your all to the Lord? Or are you giving Him what’s leftover of your time, energy, and resources? Are you seeking Him for Him, or are you seeking Him for what you believe He can provide you?

“So I have looked upon you in the sanctuary, beholding your power and glory. Because your steadfast love is better than life, my lips will praise you. So I will bless you as long as I live; in your name I will lift up my hands. My soul will be satisfied as with fat and rich food, and my mouth will praise you with joyful lips, when I remember you upon my bed, and meditate on you in the watches of the night; for you have been my help, and in the shadow of your wings I will sing for joy. My soul clings to you; your right hand upholds me.”

Psalm 63:2-8

The praiseworthy steadfast love of the Lord

Running from Absalom, David finds himself in the wilderness thirsty and in fear for his life. Even though David knows God has the ability to immediately change the situation, he turns to the Lord, seeking Him in earnest. His soul thirsts for him as he thirsts for water.

Why does David thirst for the Lord is such difficult times, especially knowing God’s sovereign hand can change his situation in a moments notice?

Later in the Psalm, David reflects on the Lord’s steadfast love. He says,

“because your steadfast love is better than life, my lips will praise you.”

Psalm 63:3

God’s steadfast love “refers to [his] special commitment to the people with whom he has gladly bound himself in an unbreakable covenant bond” (Ortland, Gently and Lowly, 149). It is God’s steadfast love that causes David to seek the Lord and trust that He will rescue him from his situation. He knows the Lord will not forsake or withdraw His love from him no matter the situation he faces or the sins he commits against the Lord.

Prior to this episode with Absalom (2 Samuel 16), David sins against Bathsheba and ultimately the Lord (see Psalm 51). But God doesn’t reject him. He doesn’t cast him out. He doesn’t annul his covenant with David due his sin and rebellion against Him. Instead, He sends Nathan the prophet to call David back to Himself (2 Samuel 12).

God’s steadfast love draws David in, it captivates him. Reflecting on God’s steadfast love causes David to thirsts for the Lord, his “soul clings to [Him]” (vs 8a). He is satisfied by the Lord alone (vs 5).

In the same way that David is drawn to the Lord, we should be drawn to the Lord. His steadfast love should captivate us and draw us in too.

Despite our consistent rebellion, God remains faithful. He doesn’t cast us off, instead He seeks us out. He sends people into our life to call us back to Himself when we sin. He provides encouraging voices so that we keep pressing on. He reminds us, through the work of the Spirit, of His steadfast love. A love that is greater than riches, status, comfort, power, and even life itself (vs 3).

God is there both when we are running from Him and towards Him. His steadfast love never ceases.

What an amazing God we serve! A God worthy of worship and praise for His steadfast love endures forever!

Psalm

Pour out your heart to the Lord

I’m reading through the Bible using the Bible Project’s reading schedule with my church. It has been great. We are at the end of Zechariah and beginning Malachi. As I read today, I was struck by Zechariah 14 and the accompanying Psalm, which is Psalm 62.

Combined with our recent reading in Zechariah 14 regarding the day of the Lord, we find that we can place our trust in the Lord. Zechariah prophesies in verse 9 “And the LORD will be king over all the earth. On that day the LORD will be one and his name one.” – (Zechariah 14:9).

Do you trust in the Lord? Is He your refuge in times of trouble? Do you pour your heart out to Him? Or do you seek comfort, refuge, protection, purpose in someone, or something else?

Do not seek comfort from the world’s false idols. They can’t and they won’t provide you the comfort you seek. Put your card back in your wallet, the snacks back on the shelf, the ice cream back in the freezer, let the selfie remain in your camera roll, and your posts about your performance go unposted.

Instead, drop to your knees and seek the Lord in prayer. Pour out your heart to Him and trust Him to act. He is the King over the whole earth now and forevermore.