Drifting over to the Minor Prophets I’ve come across a variety of stinging indictments. In Malachi the offerings to God from the priests are unimaginable. Not only are they weary of offering sacrifices they are using blind, sick, lame and sometimes stolen animals. The prophet asks rhetorically, would you serve that to your governor? Would you expect applause and favor from him? Then why would you expect favor from God? Are you serious priests? Quit picking up sticks and prepping the fire of the altar in vain; you are wasting your time. In spite of the priests deeply offensive sacrifices the prophet is encouraged that God’s name will be great among the nations and pure offerings will be lifted up to Him. God will be feared and people will worship receiving favor from God.
I have to wonder from I Peter 2 and Romans 12 what my sacrifices look like. Am I weary of offering my life as a sacrifice to God daily? Is my life blemished by conformity to the world? Am I weary of transforming my mind (Colossians 3)? Do I know what is good, acceptable, and perfect as a sacrifice? Should I legitimately expect to see the favor of God from what I humbly offer Him? Not that life becomes prosperity of that the blessings flow into my life. No, observing the favor of God as He transforms and moves lives to worship Him.
I was going to add a photo of a sick animal to this post, but as I looked at the animals it was nauseating to look at the animals. The sick animals were disgusting! How could priests become so disoriented to accept these offerings? How do I avoid apathy and stagnation where I become loose with offerings?
Every person possesses knowledge, which causes puffiness/arrogance. In contrast to knowledge love is an architect, engineer, and builder. Paul address his concern of knowledge because I may know muuuccchhh, though I know not what I ought to know. Yea brain teaser for me. Why do I not know what I think I know? What is not a brain teaser is that if I love God I will be known by God.
I know that idols and other gods don’t really exist, because there is only one God and one Jesus Christ from whom are all things for whom I exist.
Some are unable to grasp the knowledge that food offered to idols in Corinth were offered to a god that doesn’t exist, yet their conscience was defiled. Another brain teaser. Although it is not wrong technically, their conscience is still defiled. Somewhat awkward that something can be biblically okay, but due to another persons lack of knowledge their conscience can render it wrong. Paul says, I know nothing is wrong with the food, it can’t draw you closer to God, but there are weaker followers of Christ that I don’t want to cause to stumble hindering their relationship with God. Remember knowledge puffs up, but love builds up. For the knowledgeable person observing you eat this food is encouraged, yet the disciple with less knowledge can easily be destroyed. So in effect mature knowledgeable followers must be discerning of others. I should not want to hinder the brother/sister whose weak conscience may be destroyed by my knowledge. I should also want to be an encouragement to the brother/sister with knowledge. I think what Paul is suggesting is that love trumps knowledge. Others trump self. Love of God produces humility. Humility doesn’t flaunt liberty, because humility considers the wellness of others over oneself.
After James 4:6 at church yesterday along with I Corinthians 6 this morning Charlie Hall’s song “Center” came to my mind. “Oh Christ be the center of our lives be the place we fix our eyes…”