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Contact me at Mom25dogs@gmail.com

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Respect Vs. Contempt

Our pastor had another wonderful sermon this morning based on Malachi 1:6-14.

Malachi 1:6 A son honors his father, and a servant his master. If then I am a father, where is My honor? And if I am a master, where is My fear? says Jehovah of Hosts to you, O priests who despise My name. And you say, In what way have we despised Your name? 7 You offer defiled bread upon My altar; and you say, In what way have we defiled You? In your saying, The table of Jehovah, it is a thing to be despised. 8 And if you offer the blind for sacrifice, is it not evil? And if you offer the lame and the sick, is it not evil? Bring it now to your governor. Will he accept you, or lift up your face, says Jehovah of Hosts? 9 And now entreat the face of God, that He favor us. This has been by your hands, will He lift up your faces, says Jehovah of Hosts? 10 Who is even among you who will shut the doors, and you not kindle fire on My altar in vain! I have no pleasure in you, says Jehovah of Hosts. I will not be pleased with an offering from you. 11 For from the rising of the sun even to its going in, My name shall be great among the nations; and everywhere incense shall be offered to My name, and a pure food offering. For My name shall be great among the nations, says Jehovah of Hosts. 12 But you are profaning it when you say, The table of Jehovah, it is polluted; and its fruit, His food, is to be despised. 13 You also said, Behold, what a weariness it is! And you have puffed at it, says Jehovah of Hosts. And you bring plunder, and the lame, and the sick, and you bring the food offering. Should I accept it from your hand, says Jehovah? 14 But cursed be a deceiver; and there is in his flock a male, yet he vows it, but sacrifices to Jehovah a blemished one. For I am a great king, says Jehovah of Hosts, and My name is feared among the nations.

Pastor Barry pointed out we can say we revere and love God but our actions merely show Him contempt. The Jews used a word for contempt. It is racah, derived from a root meaning “to spit.” It meant vain, empty, worthless. In Malachi 6:13 you will notice that God says they have “puffed at it”. Other translations say, “huffed”, “snuffed”, “sniffed in contempt”.

God tells us what He wants and what is right. In His Word, we have His Will revealed. And, yet, we don’t follow His commands, we follow what is convenient to us at the time. This shows how vain and worthless our words are. If I say I love my husband and then ignore his wishes and do what I want anyway, I have shown him little respect and it reveals how shallow my “love” for him is. If he says he loves me and yet his actions are all about himself and what is convenient for him, then it reveals how little “love” he really has for me. It’s the same for God. We can talk a big talk, go down to the altar, weep and wail and, yet, when it comes to following God’s ways, His commandments, His instructions, His directions…we just do what we want to do anyway. This shows how shallow we are and our actions are proving to God how little we really think of Him.

To “snuff at it” came from a metaphor taken from cattle which do not like their fodder. They blow strongly through their nose upon it; and after this they nor any other cattle will eat it. Another translation says “sniff in contempt”. Without saying a word you can indicate your contempt by lifting your nose and giving a sniff as though something smells bad. It’s the body language of a snob who feels that something is beneath them and odious to them. It’s something to despise and look down on. Then there is the “puffed at it”. Have you ever asked your husband to take out the trash only to have him huff and puff and roll his eyes? Have you ever asked your child to pick the clothes up off the floor in their room only to have them huff and whine, “Mmmoooommmmmmm…I don’t want to.” We you insist they get louder and louder as they huff and puff to let you know that they may be doing it but it is under duress. They are mad about it. Well, how often do we do the same thing with God. When His Word tells us we should read His Word and pray every day. Do we huff and puff and roll our eyes and whine that we don’t have enough time? Do we do it anyway but with the huffing of anger. When His Word tells us that premarital sex is wrong do we sniff in contempt and pretend we know better and do it anyway? When He tells us not to swear and use dirty, vulgar language do we snuff in our words and blow like the cows do in their fodder and let the filth flow anyway like the drool from the cow’s mouth?

The goodness of God is that His Word is not a “killjoy”. He doesn’t tell us something just to ruin our good times! He has good reasons for it and it’s for our benefit. It will bless us and keep us from many troubles. But, even if it didn’t benefit us at all, we should be willing to obey Him because He is God. And as God, He is worthy of our worship, our love, our obedience. It is an honor and a priviledge to be a child of God. He has blessed us and saved us. He is a good, wise, righteous, loving Father. Anything He asks of us is small potatoes to what He has done for us and is going to do for us.

Malachi 1:13, “You also said, Behold, what a weariness it is!..” The priests had begun to resent performing the work at the Temple of God. They had begun to be tired of the inconvenience to themselves. Basically they were saying, “I’m sick and tired of this.” Consequently the service at the altar is a burden or a trouble to them, whereas this service ought to be regarded as an honour and a privilege. It’s all in their attitude. They had lost a grateful and thankful heart. They had acquired a selfish, lazy heart. God’s service was irksome, and therefore they tried to get it over with by presenting the most worthless offerings.

God would rather they close the doors of the temple and stop everything than to give Him halfhearted praise; meaningless liturgy; puny and sick sacrifices. It’s a waste of everyone’s time!

God deserves the best, NOT THE LEFTOVERS! It’s all about Him! You give a lot of whooping and hollering, jumping up and down, money, time…all for a football team. But, for God, you sigh because you have to go to church again, and you sit silently in the pew taking a quick nap. You give 8 hours a day of your best work for a company and a paycheck. But, for God, you huff and puff when they pass the plate around and you never give your time to volunteer. You’ll volunteer only when it’s convenient. You pay your taxes but you have a hard time with tithing. You give only when it’s convenient to you.

Our pastor was saying that we must be committed to God and His Ways rather than just do what is convenient for us. We may get by for awhile but convenience always costs more in the long run.

He gave us some great examples and here is one of mine. Let’s say that I buy a brand new Chevrolet. I don’t read the manual, I don’t put gas in it because it’s not convenient to stop at the gas station. I don’t have the oil changed and I don’t keep the tires up because that takes too much time and money and isn’t convenient. I’m not treating the new car right and yet I expect it to run perfectly. One day it stops on the side of the road. I get very angry and get out and kick the tires and swear and pitch a fit and have to walk home. From then on I tell everyone what a terrible company Chevrolet is because their car didn’t run. As though it had nothing to do with running out of gas because I DIDN’T WANT TO STOP AND GAS IT UP! It’s my own fault and yet I would run the Chevrolet company down.

Our pastor said that we often do this with God and His commands. We don’t listen to Him, we don’t read His Word. We don’t obey Him. If it’s not convenient and we don’t want to do it, then we go on our merry little way doing our own thing and when we get in trouble, we get out and curse God, kick the dust, pitch a fit, throw in a few “poor me’s” and turn away from God and walk home. Then, everyone hears about how God didn’t do this and God didn’t do that and it didn’t work for you. A lot of times, it’s our own fault but we blame God. For instance, God tells us to take care of our bodies but it’s not convenient and we don’t want to so we overeat, or smoke, or take drugs. Then, when we get heart complications, lung cancer or become so addicted….whose fault is it? It’s not God’s! God tells us that homosexuality is evil and to be avoided but so many refuse to listen to Him. And then they wind up with sexually transmitted diseases and sexual addictions and whose fault is it? God tells us things for a good reason but we ignore Him. We treat Him as though He’s some old-fashiond, little Grandmother with Alzheimmer’s Disease. We do what we want to do and then find out…there are consequences that He was trying to save us from! We treat Him with contempt and look down on Him as though we were God and not Him!

We should be committed to Him, we should check our attitude, we should repent of doing our own thing and disobeying His commandments, we should obey His Ways. This will not only bless God but it blesses us and saves us from a lot of heartache.

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