Malachi chapter 1 speaks directly to people making sacrifices to the LORD that He finds unacceptable.
6 A son honors his father, and a slave his master. If I am a father, where is the honor due me? If I am a master, where is the respect due me?” says the Lord Almighty. “It is you priests who show contempt for my name. “But you ask, ‘How have we shown contempt for your name?’ 7 “By offering defiled food on my altar. “But you ask, ‘How have we defiled you?’ “By saying that the Lord’s table is contemptible. 8 When you offer blind animals for sacrifice, is that not wrong? When you sacrifice lame or diseased animals, is that not wrong? Try offering them to your governor! Would he be pleased with you? Would he accept you?” says the Lord Almighty. – Malachi 1:6-8
As this Christmas season passes us by we look to Christ’s example for acceptable sacrifices. Christ humbled Himself supremely. That is, being the highest, He made Himself the lowest (Ephesians 5:2, Hebrews 2:9). Though we do not need to descend as Christ did, we too are called to make ourselves low, to humble ourselves (Luke 9:24).
Humility is linked to sacrafice. After all, if one believed they were above all, would not sacrifices be due them instead of the other way around? The lower we make ourselves the more opportunity we have to realize and make true sacrifices that are pleasing to the LORD.
Sacrifice is linked to service. That is, sacrifice to God is linked to the service of others (Matthew 25:40) and to serve others, placing ourselves beneath them is required (Mark 10:43-45, Matthew 18:4).
Today’s reading: 2 Chronicles 33; Revelation 19; Malachi 1; John 18
Challenge: look for an opportunity to go last today. Make yourself low and let your light shine (Isaiah 58:7-8).
Further Study:As Christians we rely wholly on God’s promises. Read Isaiah 58 to learn how God calls us to humble ourselves and what He promises us when we do.