Watch this to get an overview of the book.
The intro in my Bible writes that God is instructing Malachi to rebuke the people. Priest were divorcing their wives and marrying pagan women, they were being corrupt and in general their relationship with God was suffering.
I underlined this: ” ‘You say, ‘it’s too hard to serve the Lord’, and you turn up your noses at my commands’, says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies. ‘Think of it! Animals that are stolen and crippled and sick are being presented as offerings. Should I accept such offerings as these?’ Asks the Lord.” 1:13
When we decide to follow God, our lives are a living sacrifice to him (Romans 12:1). Here, he calls out his people for giving him leftover sacrifices.
God doesn’t want our leftover money, time or energy. Because remember, he doesn’t need these things in the first place. He’s asking us to put him first, to trust him when we give, even if we don’t feel like we have enough.
The two tangible things that come to mind are reading the Bible and tithing money. It’s so tempting to spend time on ourselves first and then read the Bible “if we can”. It takes discipline to set an earlier alarm clock, or give up an episode of Netflix. You are making time for exactly what you want to in your day. On the mornings I’m tempted to sleep a little longer instead of get up and spend time with Him, I’m not trusting that his grace is enough for me. That he won’t come alongside me when I’m tired later in the day.
Tithing is similar. Dave Ramsey, a godly financial advisor, suggests tithing immediately upon receiving your paycheck. If you wait until you’ve paid your bills, made a budget and set aside savings, there won’t be any left. This is what God says too. He doesn’t want us to offer money we happened to have leftover. He wants the first fruits; he wants us to depend on his currency and not on the worlds.
This isn’t a shame game. Fairly exam your life and ask yourself what do my sacrifices to God look like? He knows our hearts. Don’t misread the text: God isn’t asking us to perform. He’s asking us to sacrifice, and to trust him when we do.
I feel prompted to repent of turning up my nose to his commands sometimes (er, often). His rules are good. They are designed to protect us, guide our living and prevent us from living fearful, greedy lives.