Prophetic words must always be taken with reverent seriousness, as it is for anything that could be communicated by the Lord through the lips of a messenger. The messenger of the Lord is generally privileged with the heart for the message, because of the sights they are shown. Malachi, though we don’t know who he was, was such a messenger, and his messages were six-fold rhetorical disputation. In other words, Malachi does not make for light or liberating reading. It is, however, lively in terms of Judgment:
The priests of the Lord say, having been accused of profaning the Lord,
“How have we despised your name?”
The Lord responded:
“By offering polluted food on my altar. And you say, ‘How have we polluted it?’ By thinking that the Lord’s table may be despised.”
— Malachi 1:6b-7 (NRSV)
Offerings of things we give to our Lord,
We do such things to show who’s adored,
Our Lord, the One, who has given us life,
Is our only Hope eternal and way out of strife.
A prophet gifted in biblical intercession with a unique gift for being directed to single verses of Scripture for prophetic purposes has done it again.
We know the context of these words of God; at least we think we do. With trepidation and trembling we go forth in our observations of various contexts, hoping always we are on God’s side.
We trust and obey.
There is no other way.
But to despise the Lord,
Is to pave our own way.
To pave our own path, to go it alone, is to disrespect our Master, and that is the defamation of our name as disciples of the Lord. We cannot claim to be his when we continue to defame him; to pave our own path in whatever way or direction we see fit.
The priests in Malachi’s view, along with the people (3:6-12), were despising the Lord. They robbed God, and, worse, thought little of it. At least if we know we are robbing God we ought to be honest in his sight. That would be infinitely better than would be to shut our hearts to the revelation that quickly occurs as we read his Word.
Help me, O God of my creation,
To give before you everything that you deserve,
Not least, my honesty, so you may enable me to integrity.
Help me, O Lord, who protects me from temptation,
To be mindful, aware, and spiritually strong.
And, may God forgive me my transgressions against him!
© 2014 S. J. Wickham.