The Heart of God.
Today we are going to have an in depth look at the heart of God. Beginning at the sixth verse of Malachi chapter one we read:
6“A son honors his father, and a servant his master. Then if I am a father, where is My honor? And if I am a master, where is My respect?” says the Lord of hosts to you, O priests who despise My name. But you say, “How have we despised Your name? ”7 You are presenting defiled food upon My altar. But you say, “How have we defiled You?” In that you say, “The table of the Lord is to be despised. ”8 But when you present the blind for sacrifice, is it not evil? And when you present the lame and sick, is it not evil? Why not offer it to your governor? Would he be pleased with you? Or would he receive you kindly? says the Lord of hosts. 9“But now will you not entreat God’s favor, that He may be gracious to us? With such an offering on your part, will He receive any of you kindly?” says the Lord of hosts. 10“Oh that there were one among you who would shut the gates, that you might not uselessly kindle fire on My altar! I am not pleased with you,” says the Lord of hosts, “nor will I accept an offering from you. 11 For from the rising of the sun even to its setting, My name will be great among the nations, and in every place incense is going to be offered to My name, and a grain offering that is pure; for My name will be great among the nations,” says the Lord of hosts. 12“But you are profaning it, in that you say, “The table of the Lord is defiled, and as for its fruit, its food is to be despised.’ 13You also say, ‘My, how tiresome it is!’ And you disdainfully sniff at it,” says the Lord of hosts, “and you bring what was taken by robbery and what is lame or sick; so, you bring the offering! Should I receive that from your hand?” says the Lord. 14“But cursed be the swindler who has a male in his flock and vows it, but sacrifices a blemished animal to the Lord, for I am a great King,” says the Lord of hosts, “and My name is feared among the nations.”
Although God is willing to pour out His Spirit, Jesus said to His disciples, “do not throw the pearls before swine.” We must realize that the gospel is very precious and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit is very powerful. In past revivals, many people were found to be a stumbling block; even when the Spirit of God moved! There are always people that will never be willing to accept the move of God’s Spirit. They are more religious than anything else, they deny the Power of God! Let us not be numbered with them because when God is going to pour His Spirit out, we want to be ready.
Shortly after I got born again, I read this passage and found myself weeping at God’s words when he said:
6“A son honors his father, and a servant his master. Then if I am a father, where is My honor? And if I am a master, where is My respect?” says the Lord of hosts to you, …
8 But when you present the blind for sacrifice, is it not evil? And when you present the lame and sick, is it not evil? Why not offer it to your governor? Would he be pleased with you? Or would he receive you kindly? says the Lord of hosts.
With this in mind, let’s now examine First Corinthians verse 27. These passages are crucial to move on in our walk with Jesus. First understand that you are the greatest enemy to yourself. You are the only one who may not allow yourself to progress in God. You think the devil is preventing us? He really doesn’t have to if we yield to our flesh. When you yield to your own will and desires, he doesn’t have to do anything. Having said that, when examining first Corinthians, chapter one we read:
27, “but God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are mighty.
Don’t forget and neglect the fact that as humans, we are foolish and weak before God. By realizing this, we will be strong only in God! Because without Him, we can do nothing. God himself said that He chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise. That means God chose us to put the wise of this world to shame. The wise He is referring to in this case are those who are wise in their own eyes. This is why it is futile to argue with people. This scripture plainly says that arguments lead to disunity and foolishness! We will never win by our own strength or wisdom, it has to be done by the Holy Spirit who convicts people. Remember, the goal is to stay under submission to God and be humble. You don’t want your own strength to manifest but God’s strength. The more you consider yourself weak, the stronger you become in the spirit. Therefore, we always have to choose whether we are going to use our strength and power or the Lord’s. One thing I have learned over the years is how to rely on the power of the Spirit.
When we read on into verse 29, it says: “So that no man may boast before God.”
This passage tells us that God is honored when we don’t boast or justify ourselves, but allow Him to perform His will in our life; in this, he receives glory! That goes to show how important it is to walk by the Spirit. By allowing God’s Spirit to manifest in your life, you honor him. Though God chose us the way we are, He is teaching us to yield to the Holy Spirit’s power within us. Going back to Malachi, remember that the main topic of the chapter was the issue of sacrifice. Of course we know that Jesus is the ultimate sacrifice for our sins and the most significant sacrifice in the Bible. With that said, the word of God also speaks about offering the sacrifice of praise. The scripture mentions different sacrifices, one of which is our body. Therefore, we are still required to bring God a sacrifice. In the book of Leviticus, we find seven or eight different types of sacrifices, and every one was for a different purpose. These apply to daily life and are sought after by God. Ultimately, God is saying:
V. 16. “If I am a master where is my respect?”
The reason God was disrespected is because they were offering God lame sacrifices. Because they couldn’t sell it in the market, they decided to offer it to God. These had no value to them, yet they thought it would please God. Oftentimes, we bring God a lame sacrifice in praise and worship. Put it this way, if our worship at home is weak, our worship in God’s house will be likewise. We can’t honor God with what is weak, blind and defiled. The word says that we are to present our bodies as a living sacrifice to God. What does this mean? Paul said through Christ:
“Let your whole spirit, soul and body be sanctified.” 1 Thess. 5:23
If we do whatever we want with our body during the week and then bring it as a sacrifice to God on Sunday, this is the disrespect God is talking about. When we are gathering together to worship, we should know that we are bringing our body to God as living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to Him. In this manner, we honor God. The reason Paul says that our Spirit, soul and body should be fully sanctified is because our bodies are the temple of the Holy Spirit. Notice that it is not just the Spirit and soul, but also the body. You may feed your Spirit in prayer and your soul in the Word, but you may be careless with your body. If this happens, you are not complete! We need to learn how to die to our flesh daily. Though it is not easy, it is the only way to bring honor to God. Let me ask you, do you think it was easy for Jesus to die on the cross? If your spirit and soul are sold out to God totally and completely then you will have the power over your flesh. On the other hand, if you are looking for worldly pleasure, watch out because your body is weak. Thank God we didn’t have to die for our sins but Jesus died! We didn’t pay that heavy price. It is easy to proclaim that Jesus lives in you, but the question is do you live in Jesus? Though it costed us nothing to receive Christ, yet it costed Him everything. Because the early believers understood this, the church walked in the power of God for the first 300 years. They were in continual revival and even saw the dead raised. Because of the manifestation of God’s power, Constantine came to try to put a stop to it. In the first 300 years, no one could stop the church because the believers were dead to this life and everything pertaining to it. Their view was, to live is Christ and to die is gain; they were totally sold out to God. In Malachi, when speaking to the priests God said:
V. 8, when you bring the sacrifice to God lame and blind, you despise My name.
The sacrifices they brought before the Lord, were not merely for sin, but also for worship. It was personal between them and God. Therefore, the ultimate sacrifice we bring to God is in our personal life. This is how we determine the strength of our fellowship with God. We die in our flesh for ourselves and by ourselves. In so doing, we will be enriched so much more in God and in our relationship with the Lord. Our life in God is very important. This is why when we are born again, we no longer should live our own life. It’s a new way of living where you are stepping in to the heavenly realm. Therefore, we are to take steps each day at the time, slowly, with the goal of getting to know Him and the power of His resurrection. Remember that the greatest sacrifice has been done through which you entered into the heavens, who is Christ Jesus Himself. Now that this has been accomplished, we ought to return the favor by living a life of sacrifice to him. Every struggle in your life must be brought to Him as a sacrifice as well. Don’t move up a few steps and stop; don’t quit! You may not have much strength and no one to encourage you, but you can encourage yourself. By keeping your eyes on the goal, you will finish the race. Like with the church of Ephesus, God is calling you back to your first love. Go back to where you have fallen from, pick up the cross and follow Jesus.