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? say 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 1:13-14, English Standard Version)
Malachi chapter one primarily deals with the priests and the people who were bringing tainted sacrifices to the Lord. Instead of offering up the best they had – an unblemished offering which the law required – they instead brought blind and lame animals, presumably so that they could keep the better ones for themselves. Not only were they disobeying the command, but in so doing demonstrating that God was second in their hearts to themselves.
Of course God doesn’t need a burnt offering, for He needs nothing. God is impressed with neither perfect nor crippled animals. What He requires is a contrite heart, one that seeks the will of God above and beyond itself. An obedient servant is what the Lord requires. This type of heart will always serve up the better sacrifice, demonstrating love and obedience in a real, tangible way.
We can learn much from this in the church today. Just as the children of Israel said “What a weariness this is” (1:13) concerning the demands of the law, so also we often grumble at what God asks of us. We grumble at prayer, Bible study, church attendance, tithing, witnessing, and a host of other things. What we must keep in mind is the reality of the abundant grace given to us in Christ Jesus. A Consideration of such mercy and goodness will warm our hearts and create in us a desire to be obedient, not because we must, but because we are willing, as God wants us to be.