Relational Faith

“In what way have we despised Your Name?” (Malachi 1:6)

An enduring plague of humanity is our failure to recognise our true condition and this applies to Christians as well. The verse quoted above has been thought or said by multitudes through history when challenged regarding their walk with the Lord. It spills over our lips because we are in the dark regarding the holy ways of our Lord and our own fallen state.

Israel was going through all the outward evidences of a true relationship with God but their heart was not in it. Their heart was not in their worship of the Lord and this led to lying to and robbing the Lord. They thought He would not notice that they were robbing Him of true worship. Counterfeit worship does not measure up or please the Lord.

They were despising the name of the Lord by giving Him less than the best. The animal sacrifices that were supposed to picture the sinless Christ were blind, lame or sick (1:8). The corruption of the image revealed that their worship was also corrupt and unacceptable. If we spend time with the Lord or give time to ministry to others only if we have spare time and there is nothing else to do, and we only give money if there is anything left over after we have spent on ourselves, are we not also despising His name?

Among other revelations of Israel’s falling short in Malachi is that they did not trust the Lord to provide for them (3:8-10). In order to ensure sufficient for their future Israel did not give the tithe to the Lord and short changed Him in their offerings and sacrifices. God says they were robbing Him (v 8) but also robbing themselves (v 10).

The matter of giving of time and money is closely related to faith and trust in the Lord. Giving is not a legalistic requirement, it is relational. Paul records that some believers had given “according to their ability, yes, and beyond their ability, they were freely willing … but they first gave themselves to the Lord” (2 Corinthians 8:3, 5). They did this because of the relationship they had with Jesus Christ not because of some religious requirement. They trusted their tomorrow in His hands.

When we withhold giving in the various ways we have opportunity we are in effect saying that the Lord is untrustworthy and unreliable. Clearly there is a relational problem that needs attention. If we do not trust Him to provide for our brief earthly future how can we honestly declare that we trust Him for salvation and eternity? Our children and the world will see through that hypocrisy in a moment.

No believer sets out to despise the name of the Lord or to rob Him but we may easily fall into the trap of doing so. Jesus said, “Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matthew 6:21). Jesus is our treasure. Everything else is fleeting, just for a moment.

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