A son honours his father, and a servant his master. If then I am a father, where is my honour? And if I am a master, where is my fear? says the LORD of hosts to you, O priests, who despise my name. But you say, ‘How have we despised your name?’ By offering polluted food upon my altar. But you say, ‘How have we polluted you?’ By saying that the LORD’S table may be despised. When you offer blind animals in sacrifice, is that not evil? And when you offer those that are lame or sick, is that not evil? Present that to your governor; will he accept you or show you favour? says the LORD of hosts. And now entreat the favour of God, that he may be gracious to us. With such a gift from your hand, will he show favour to any of you? says the LORD of hosts. Oh that there were one among you who would shut the doors, that you might not kindle fire on my altar in vain! I have no pleasure in you, says the LORD of hosts, and I will not accept an offering from your hand.
Comment: This is a conversation between God and the priests of the day. The NT says that believers are meant to be, among other things, a priesthood (1Peter 2 v5). A priest is a go-between God and fellow humans. So maybe we should listen and learn. Let me write the conversation in point form.
- God speaks: Sons and servants honour their fathers and masters. I as Father God get neither honour nor fear from you. You rather despise My Name.
- Priests answer: Why do you accuse us of that?
- God replies: Your offerings on the altars are not according to my instructions.
- Priests : What do You mean?
- God: You offer me the injured, the deformed, the sick, the lame – anything that you don’t want for yourselves. Try offering as gifts things like that to your Governor and see how he takes it. Yet that is what you are doing to Me and expecting blessing!
- God again: I wish that one of you had the courage to lock the doors to the altar so that this sort of thing cannot be done. You are doing both a vain and evil thing. Enough is enough – I will not accept this kind of treatment anymore!
We are not priests in the way the Levites were but what do we offer God in service, if we claim to serve Him? Hopefully we offer our best!
Prayer: Even though spoken years ago, there are lessons here for us, O God. Help us to learn them, please.