“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 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 favor? says the LORD of hosts. And now entreat the favor of God, that he may be gracious to us. With such a gift from your hand, will he show favor 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. For from the rising of the sun to its setting my name will be great among the nations, and in every place incense will be offered to my name, and a pure offering. For my name will be great among the nations, says the LORD of hosts. But you profane it when you say that the Lord’s table is polluted, and its fruit, that is, its food may be despised. But you say, ‘What a weariness this is,’ and you snort at it, says the LORD of hosts. You bring what has been taken by violence or is lame or sick, and this you bring as your offering! Shall I accept that from your hand? says the LORD. Cursed be the cheat who has a male in his flock, and vows it, and yet sacrifices to the Lord what is blemished. For I am a great King, says the LORD of hosts, and my name will be feared among the nations. Malachi 1:6–14
James Montgomery Boice writes:
There is one more interesting point in this section. It is the suggestion in verse 10 that it would be better in God’s sight for the Jerusalem temple to be closed than for such contemptible service to continue: “Oh, that one of you would shut the temple doors, so that you would not light useless fires on my altar! I am not pleased with you,’ says the LORD Almighty,’ and I will accept no offering from your hands.’” It is an interesting footnote to this text that the Qumran or Dead Sea Community later used it to justify their own rejection of the Jerusalem temple and its priests.
God’s wish that someone might close the doors of the temple veils a threat that God would Himself bring the temple worship to an end, which He did forever by the agency of the roman armies under Titus in A.D. 70. Should not the same judgment rightly apply today? We are much concerned with evangelism, church planting, and church growth. But the cause of Christ would be better advanced in some instances by closing some churches than by opening them. By the existence of unbelieving churches the gospel of Christ is diluted and even contradicted in our land.
MEMORY WORK – Shorter Catechism Q/A 29
Q. 29. How are we made partakers of the redemption purchased by Christ?
A. We are made partakers of the redemption purchased by Christ, by the effectual application of it to us by his Holy Spirit.