The final book in Nevi’im opens interestingly. “The burden of the word of the Lord to Israel in the hand of Malachi (Malachi 1:1).” Being the prophet of God isn’t described as an honor, or a privilege, but rather as a burden. Bearing the weight of that must responsibility is indeed a heavy task, and I wish more leaders today took that into account, rather than only looking for glory. Leadership roles are burdens, and responsibilities, and should be treated solemnly, rather than as popularity contests. But I digress.
This chapter involves God essentially calling out the people for being insincere. They offer imperfect, inferior sacrifices, demonstrating a lack of respect and honor. Then, they question why God doesn’t show them favor. “O that there were even one among you that would close the doors [of the Temple] and that you would not kindle fire on My altar in vain! I have no desire in you, says the Lord of Hosts. Neither will I accept an offering from your hand (Malachi 1:10).” Essentially, stop half-assing things Israelites! People are so lazy, and are seriously always trying to cut corners. And when you don’t bring the best of yourself to a situation, you never get the best results. This is God literally saying that He would rather someone shut the Temple all together rather than give without sincerity and honor. So let’s apply that to all of our lives – doing things wholeheartedly, or not at all. What would that look like?