Acceptable service

God commanded that the animals sacrificed to him be free of any defects.  Sometimes the Israelites failed to do this.  Here is what the prophet Malachi said about their failure.

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?
Malachi 1:6-8

He gave them a standard by which they could measure the acceptability of their offerings.

Present that to your governor; will he accept you or show you favor? says the LORD of hosts.
Malachi 1:8

When Malachi made this prophecy the Jews were subjects of the Persian Empire and were required to pay taxes to the governor.  If they offered a defective animal in payment of their taxes it would have been rejected and they would have faced punishment.  Because God didn’t immediately punish their failures they felt they could get by offering him less than their best.  The test that Malachi proposed is a good way we can measure our service to God.

We are commanded to study the Bible.  All of us have gone to school and been required to study.  If we had given the same effort to our school studies as we give to studying our Bible, would we have graduated?

We are commanded to give to support those in need and to help those who preach the gospel.  We are commanded to pay our taxes.  If we were only as faithful in paying taxes as we are in giving to God, could we avoid being imprisoned for tax evasion?

We are supposed to serve God.  We also have to earn our living by jobs in which we serve an earthly employer.  If we serve our employers only as well as we serve God could any of us keep our jobs?

I have fallen short in all three of these areas.  I am thankful that God is more merciful than teachers, tax collectors, and employers, and gives us the opportunity to repent of our failures and begin serving him faithfully.

Paul commanded believers to serve those in authority over us as if we are serving God.

Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.
Colossians 3:23-24

Perhaps there are some who should begin serving God as faithfully as they serve the people who are in authority over them.

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Posted on November 28, 2016, in Bible study, practical lessons and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. Comments Off on Acceptable service.

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