Sunday: Great Is the Lord
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Read Malachi 1.What problem is the prophet addressing?

Image © Janet Hyun from GoodSalt.com

Image © Janet Hyun from GoodSalt.com

How, today, might we be guilty of the same attitude that led to this rebuke?

Malachi contrasts God’s love for His people with the attitude of the priests, whom he charges with the sin of contempt for God’s holy name. When performing their duties in the temple, these descendants of Aaron accepted lame, blind, and sick animals for sacrifices to the Lord. In this way the people were led astray into thinking that sacrifices were not important. Yet, God had instructed Aaron and his sons in the wilderness that sacrificial animals should be physically perfect, without blemish (see Lev. 1:1-322:19).

The prophet then lists three important reasons why God deserved to be honored and respected by the people of Israel. First, God is their Father. Just as children should honor their parents, so the people must respect their Father in heaven. Second, God is their Master and Lord. Just as servants obey their masters, so God’s people should treat Him in the same way. Third, the Lord is a great King, and an earthly king would not accept a defective or sickly animal as a gift from one of His subjects. So, the prophet is asking why the people would present such an animal to the King of kings, the One who rules over the whole world.

What, of course, makes their actions even more heinous in the sight of God is that these sacrifices were all pointing to Jesus, the spotless Son of God (John 1:291 Pet. 1:18-19). The animals were to be without blemish because Jesus had to be without blemish in order to be our perfect sacrifice.

“To the honor and glory of God, His beloved Son—the Surety, the Substitute—was delivered up and descended into the prisonhouse of the grave. The new tomb enclosed Him in its rocky chambers. If one single sin had tainted His character the stone would never have been rolled away from the door of His rocky chamber, and the world with its burden of guilt would have perished.”—Ellen G. White,Manuscript Releases, vol. 10, p. 385. Is there any wonder, then, that the sacrifices which pointed to Jesus had to be perfect?

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Sunday: Great Is the Lord — 28 Comments

  1. I'm so thankful for His perfect life, and for the power of the Holy Spirit to help us follow His example. He was the perfect Lamb, and He calls us to reflect His character to those around us. God, help us to keep our eyes on Him.

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    • There is a great lesson to learn here from what the priests could have done right. Fortunately, God expects His followers not to blindly follow the priests, but to follow the Example of Jesus Christ all the time. He lived His best, for the rest of us to follow His Way. May God lead us day by day so we could be an example to those who need to know and follow Him

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  2. Perfection can only come from a perfect God. To offer God any service that is not our best should then never be offered. In saving sinners like us God had a perfect plan and a perfect sacrifice. He sent his perfect Son. May we by the grace of God endeavor to unite our effort with The Lord to give Him the perfect service, devotion and praise.

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  3. Christ perfect life as was demonstrated on earth was the true representation of God the father. Note that Christ was not crucified because of the sin he committed but for the sin of ours - what a sacrificial lamb for the benefit of the whole world. We owe him nothing but to serve him in truth and in spirit because he did what no man can do on earth. Look unto the cross and see how you can emulate the life of Christ and be saved.

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  4. The people of God ( The Jews ) were required to offer spotless animal sacrifices, pointing to the supreme sinless sacrifice, Jesus Christ, who would have come and died for the sins of all.Similarly, We as God's people, are required to place all that we have and are on the altar of sacrifice.This means, that we should give the best of all we are and have to the service of the Lord.

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  5. As we present ourselves as living sacrifices (romans 12:1,2) His perfect example encourages us that we can be perfect too!

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    • @Joalyeni
      Perhaps a better way to say it would be to say that Christ's perfect Example tells us that as we fully surrender to Him He will perfect His character in us.

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  6. Romans 12:1-2, also shows us how we should present ourselves as a living sacrifice. With the same measure of Jesus Christ. Amen.

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  7. Throughout the Bible there is constant tendency of God's people to be lazy and give sloppy service. Prophets tries to undo that direction. If there is no Jesus nothing what we do will be acceptable. The same tendency is now in the Church. Not to advance but to go back.

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  8. [Moderator's Note: Please remember to use first and last names when commenting.]
    as christ followers we should strive to live a perfect life including our sacrifices to GOD

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  9. We should always give of our best to the Master. Sometimes we have responsibilities in our church, and we show up late, or not at all, without notification. On the other hand we arrive at work on time, and take our responsibilities very seriously (That is commendable). Remember though that God deserves our best. How well do we prepare for our duties in the body of Christ? The word clearly says that He does not accept our inferior offerings. Brothers and sisters let's do some reflection.

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  10. So if we are guilty of the same attitude, what are we going to do about it?
    RETURN TO GOD

    1. The first step to “returning to God” is through REPENTANCE. For without it we can never realise how sinful we are and how much we need Him.

    2. Secondly, through prayer, even if it means 7 times a day, we shall do it. Through prayer a communication is established, and a relationship is maintained. We get to expreience God’s love and plans for our lives through talking to Him.

    3. Last, through diligent study of His word. This is vital in the sense that we get to understand His purpose for us. This is the way of life He wants us to follow and we then stay closer to Him by every verse and every chapter. This is the will of The Father.

    DO THE WILL OF THE FATHER

    Matthew 7:21 NLT

    “Not everyone who calls out to me, ‘Lord! Lord!’ will enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Only those who actually do the will of my Father in heaven will enter.

    SEE JESUS

    Mark 10:50-52 NLT

    Bartimaeus threw aside his coat, jumped up, and came to Jesus. “What do you want me to do for you?” Jesus asked. “My rabbi, ” the blind man said, “I want to see!” And Jesus said to him, “Go, for your faith has healed you.” Instantly the man could see, and he followed Jesus down the road.

    HEAR GODS WORD AND OBEY IT

    Luke 8:21 NLT

    Jesus replied, “My mother and my brothers are all those who hear God’s word and obey it.”

    GET TO KNOW GOD ANDJESUS CHRIST

    John 17:3 NLT

    And this is the way to have eternal life—to know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, the one you sent to earth.

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  11. It's a serious thing, The heart is deceitfully wicked and we fool ourselves sometimes, so unless we really have the spirit of God we can easily fall into the category of showing contempt to God. That's why we really need to be emptied of self by placing our lives on the altar of sacrifice daily, else we will be offering lame and selfish sacrifices.

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  12. I dont understand the sacrificing of animals at all. Not now and not in ancient times either How could God want to us to kill innocent creatures. It is so barbaric. Can anyone explain that to me as i am very confused regarding this issue

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    • Elsie, you raise a very valid question. First of all it was never God's plan for all those animals to be destroyed. God says "to obey is better than to sacrifice." Also it was God's plan that when the sinner brought the animal to the altar and crushed out its life because of his sin, it was to break the sinner's heart so that he would not go back and make the same mistakes over and over and kill innocent animals over and over. The dying animal pointed to the Son of God who would die. Without life being crushed out of a living creature those living before the cross would have no idea what the price of sin was.

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      • William E., it is not true for us to say that it was never God's plan to destroy all those animals. The plan of salvation of man was known to God before the fall of Adam. This is possible because of God's foreknowledge is beyond every finite minds. The Lamb of God slain from the foundation of the world was not an afterthought. But our merciful and Loving God warned Adam and Eve about the consequence (death) if they disobey his command. The Spirit of Prophecy said; the angels of God ministered to Adam and Eve daily in the Garden of the danger that will result if they disobey God. So the right context of the statement; "to obey is better than sacrifice is, God is saying I rather you obey my commands than suffer the consequence (death) of innocent animals sacrifices. With God's foreknowledge He was aware of the conseguence of disobedient before He created man, and that my friend is the uncomprehensible love of God to us that we can only accept it by faith. Thank you Father and Son Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit for making us who we are today and who will we be when by faith believe and wholly trusting in You.

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        • Jay, I don't think William was saying that God didn't ordain the sacrificial system but that the Jews were abusing it. They were replacing obedience with a mountain of sacrifices very much like the Roman Catholic confessional is abused by some in that congregation. It was what the Jews turned the system into that God didn't create.

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    • Elsie T, The sacrificial system in the Old Testament was given and commanded by the Almighty God. It is vitally important to gain the understanding of the true reality of God and our true reality. God is allknowing and do not err. God is perfect in all His ways and infinite in wisdom and abounding in Love and all His judgments are just. The best knowledge of man will not measure up to the foolishness of God. The sacrificial system was the typology of God's plan of salvation for mankind that was fulfilled and expired when Jesus endured the ultimate sacrifice on the cross of calvary. This sacrificial system was initially introduced in the beginning at the fall of Adam, when God sacrificed innocent animals to provide Adam and Eve with leather coverings to replace their own manmade coverings and significantly expresses the only hope of man is the innocent shed blood of Jesus that will cover mans sin and reconcile us back to God. Though from our finite perspecives, the slaughter of innocent animals is cruel and seem unfair and unlovingly, but God ordained it and with our finite minds we must accept it. A song that comes to mind that is fitting; "God Said it, And i believe it, And that settled it for me." When it is chrystal clear to us that God ordained and commands it we must obey and follow. I've learned that Satan will capitalize on our unbeliefs and doubts. Jesus promised the Holy Spirit to guide us to all His truths if we genuinely come to Him with sincere hearts to know of His Ways, Will, and His unfathomless love that tongue or pen can never tell. The innocent Lamb of God did not consider the cruelty, the shame and suffering of the cross, for He knew this is the only hope of man for eternal salvation and beyond that, i will ask Jesus when i meet Him face to face. It is to our demise when we entertain doubts and unbeliefs in our Loving Father. Have faith in God and wholly trusting in Him. With love, Cheers!!!

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    • Neither do I. But I know one thing: Jesus abolished animal sacrificing! So that kind of sacrificing was not perfect although it was given throughout Moses from angels of God. We love Jesus for that deed among many other things he did for which we love him also.

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    • How sad, humbling and serious the animal sacrificial system was. The sinner even had to kill the animal after confessing his sins. It was an indelible way for our Creator to impress our mind and heart with the seriousness of our transgressions.

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  13. I am ashamed to admit I too gave God second best.
    I remember working so hard to give my boss the
    best I had to offer, only to throw things together
    and offer it to the creator. Once I got my
    priorities together, I find when I give God the
    best, nothing else I do falls short. All praises
    to God for His mercy and His love. Even when I failed
    Him He still didn't give me second best.

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  14. The Israelite had a diluted relationship with God, hence they minimized the significance of their of their sacrifice. Sincere relationship with God reflects the meaning of his greatness to us; and all men will know that we are his disciples. Why go through the formality and reap the reward of a delinquent servant!!

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  15. The generation at the time of Malachi was right before the first coming of Jesus and the fullfilment of the old testament covenant. This is the condition of God's people and their leaders that wearied the Almighty God with their worships and sacrifices. The standards of worship given by by God has been badly lowered and defiled. I often questioned if those priests that were accepting blemished animals for sacrifices were consume by fire from the Lord instead of the sacrifice? In Leviticus 10 the two sons of Aaron were devoured by fire from the Lord for using their own man made fire. From these record we can see and understands how series God is when in comes to dealing with the Sin problem in this world and will not lower His given standard on sin. Are we as church leaders holding up the high standards of God or are we as leaders allowing the downgrade of that high standard of God? Are we as church members recognize the downgrade of those standards and hold up the banner of God in His honor even when ridiculed and despised by the majority. Am i as an individual keeping those standards to present my body as a holy sacrifice before God. We can achieve all of these if Christ is dwelling in us daiy. Paul said of his good works; is not i but is Christ that liveth in me. Is my constant prayer daily that i continually abiding in Him daily so i may be found in favor of God when Jesus come. We are living in the nearing of Jesus second coming. Lets look to Jesus the Beginner and the Finisher of our faith. Hold up His banner in all things. Cheeers!!!

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  16. Elsie,
    What we all at times tend to forget is that sin has consequences and that there is a price to pay. God in His love and foreknowledge made provision for the saving of mankind with the covering of that sin by a perfect substitute. Jesus is the only person who could intercede for us and who shed His blood on our behalf. Prior to Jesus was the priesthood and tabernacle service that again called for the slaying of animals until the Lamb without blemish(Jesus) stood in our stead and interceded for us

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  17. It is very easy to raise the issue that the "standards" have been lowered and indulge ourselves in the satisfaction of introspection. I am old enough to remember what the church was like 50 years ago. Church music was different; Church services were three hymns and a prayer, an offering and a sermon; and Ingathering was still a major church activity. Some people my age mourn the changes and claim the standards have dropped. I am sure that many of the things that we get all nostalgic about are not all that important.

    The thing that concerns me is that many of us are content in our navel-gazing and have come to enjoy it. Where is the spirit of "getting out there and giving it a go"? Recently I have had a bit of a life change - I retired from church work. It has been a struggle to reorient my thinking. My network of contacts has had to change and I have had to look beyond my work experience to establish new networks of people to interact with.

    The challenge we face is not lowered standards, but self-centredness. If you read the "big picture" of the minor prophets, you will see that God's people also had a tendency to be self-centred and were unwilling to share what they knew with others. They were more concerned with identity than they were with mission. Introspection is OK if it leads to action. Now is the time to recognise that there is a whole world outside the church and that is where we should be - out of our comfort zone.

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  18. Just got me thinking of this song Wonderful merciful Savior precious redeemer and friend who would have thought that a lamb could rescue the souls of man oh oh rescue the souls of man.. oh what manner of love do we see here.

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  19. Its so sad even with our generation how we are not so faithful when it comes to tithe and offerings, we many times first look at our own needs before we return to what belongs to God.

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  20. I believe in all what has been said, Jesus is the "password" to attainig purity,obedience, humbleness etc. without this password, we will be galloping in darkness and in vain. He Himself said,"I am the Way, Truth and Life" Why should we take shortcuts that leads only tp perdition?
    My prayer is that we all need to have this password at heart.
    God richly bless us all.

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