(J. R. Miller, “Devotional Hours with the Bible”)
The LORD Almighty says to the priests: “You have despised My name!”
But you ask, “How have we ever despised Your name?”
“You have despised My name by offering defiled sacrifices on My altar!”
Then you ask, “How have we defiled the sacrifices?”
“When you bring blind animals for sacrifice–is that not wrong? When you sacrifice crippled or diseased animals–is that not wrong?” says the LORD Almighty.
The Jewish law required that every sacrifice offered unto God, must be without blemish. No lame, blind, or diseased animal would be accepted. It was an insult to God to bring to His altar anything that was maimed, blemished or worthless. Yet the people had been taking the best of everything for themselves, and then bringing the refuse–the blind and lame animals–as offerings to God!
Well, how is it with ourselves? The object in putting these verses in the Bible–was not to get us to condemn the people who lived twenty-three hundred years ago! It was to make us think whether WE are doing this base thing ourselves!
Do we give God the best of all we have–our best love, our best gifts, our best service? Or do we take the best of all for ourselves–and then give God the blind and the lame?
How many people in the church, when the collection plate is being passed, pick out the smallest bit of money–to put in the plate! We give our strength to our own work or leisure, and then have only our weariness to bring to God. We save our best things for ourselves, and then have only worthless things to offer our wondrous King! What kind of service are we giving to our glorious Lord?
The Lord’s answer to the arrogant defense of the priests is startling: “Oh, that one of you would shut the temple doors, so that these worthless sacrifices could not be offered! I am not at all pleased with you–and I will not accept your offerings!”
What do WE bring to God–when we go through the forms of prayer, when we sing the sacred words of our hymn, when we make our offerings, when we sit down at the Lord’s table? If there is only words, words, words in all our worship–no heart, no love, no real presenting of ourselves to God, no laying of our best on the altar–God has no pleasure in us and will not accept our offerings at our hand!
“Now these things occurred as examples to keep US from setting our hearts on evil things as they did.” 1 Corinthians 10:6