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
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.

What are the Benefits of Those Who Fear the Lord?

We are told in Proverbs 1:7 that:

“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; 
fools despise wisdom and instruction.”

What does it mean to fear the Lord?

Fearing the Lord means that we have a certain awe and respect for God, which arises from recognizing our place in the universe. No matter what psychology says, we are not the center that everything and everyone should revolve around. God is at the center because He is the Creator and subsequent owner of all creation. We are His.

When we recognize God’s power, glory, and creative genius, we should be driven to wonder, amazement, and a deep respect for God. Instead of worshipping self or creation, we should worship the Lord. Instead of trying to do things on our own, thinking we know best, we should seek the Lord and His Word because we know He knows best, and when we live according to His design things go well.

The Benefits of those who Fear the Lord

The Psalmist, building on the idea from Proverbs, enumerates the benefits of those who fear the Lord in Psalm 25.

(1) His guilt is pardoned, and he no longer has to fear the Lord’s wrath (11).

(2) He receives the Lord’s instruction, telling him how he should live (12).

(3) His soul is at ease. Worry, stress, and, at times, even the hardship of life are not present (13a).

(4) His children will inherit the land promised by the Lord because the father’s actions don’t result in discipline. By the hand of the Lord, He dwells securely in the land and his children are able to inherit that same land (13b).

(5) He will receive the counsel of a friend from the Lord (14a).

(6) God’s covenant faithfulness is made known to him (14b).

(7) He will be rescued from his enemies by the strong hand of the Lord (15).

Question for Reflection

  1. Do you fear the Lord?
  2. Do you recognize the benefits of fearing Him?

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