Ever been in a spiritual desert? You know, those times where your prayers seem to bounce off the ceiling… where nothing you try to do for God seems to work out right… where you get discouraged in your faith, and wonder if God has left you?
Malachi gives us some insight. True to theme, it fits in with the idea of worthy offerings.
11Judah has broken faith. A detestable thing has been committed in Israel and in Jerusalem: Judah has desecrated the sanctuary the LORD loves, by marrying the daughter of a foreign god. 12As for the man who does this, whoever he may be, may the LORD cut him off from the tents of Jacob — even though he brings offerings to the LORD Almighty.
13Another thing you do: You flood the LORD’s altar with tears. You weep and wail because he no longer pays attention to your offerings or accepts them with pleasure from your hands. 14You ask, “Why?” It is because the LORD is acting as the witness between you and the wife of your youth, because you have broken faith with her, though she is your partner, the wife of your marriage covenant.
As I mentioned in part 2 of these “worthy” devotions, we have a tendency to focus on God’s love and grace above all other qualities. In doing so, we can miss the mark on so much of our understanding of God.
So, when you think of God, do you ever think about Him being jealous? Do you ever think about how much He desires for us to live in a right relationship with Him… not just to do His will, but to truly love Him? Do you ever think about the pain it causes Him when we place other gods before Him, especially when we know beyond a shadow of a doubt the price Jesus paid for our salvation?
So what does this have to do with spiritual deserts? Think about it… when we’re in the desert, wandering, it’s often times our own fault… our own sin has led us to exile. Often times, we have almost unknowingly divorced ourselves from God through our love relationships with other gods. Think about it… what things do you place ahead of God in your life sometimes? Love for family? Desire for bigger and better things? Enthusiasm for a sports team? Your job? Your appearance?
Now, we know that God alone is worthy of our worship, our praise, and our adoration. We know that our sin separates us from Him. We know that He desires the best of our offerings, not half-hearted, tainted worship. How should He respond when we plead with Him for blessing during those times that our entire lives offer nothing to Him (or worse, are so tainted as to be detestable)?
And we wonder why He does not bless us? We wonder why we feel we’re in a spiritual desert? We wail and cry about Him being distant?
If we examine our lives in light of this, often times we’ll find that we did. We’ll often find that we have been spiritually adulterous. We’ll find that our offerings are detestable to God. We’ll find that we have broken faith with the only one who will ever truly love us unconditionally… with our true love… with our Lord.
So… I ask again… are your offerings worthy?
Thankfully, we can still be reconciled if we are forced to answer, “no”. God still loves us unconditionally… His grace is still abundant… and His forgiveness is readily available to the repentent.
I pray that we all will examine our hearts, refocus our worship, and truly make our lives into offerings worthy of receipt by the King of Kings.
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