"Oh that there were one among you who would shut the gates, that you might not uselessly kindle fire on My altar! I am not pleased with you," says the LORD of hosts, "nor will I accept an offering from you.
Insights: There are so many verses in the Bible that are truly sad. Today’s verse is one of those. In modern day vernacular God is saying, “Just go home and shut the doors to the church. I want nothing to do with you.” E. Ray Clendenen helps us historically understand this verse. He wrote, “According to 2 Chronicles 28:24, idolatrous King Ahaz of Judah ‘shut the doors of the LORD’s temple and set up altars at every street corner in Jerusalem.’ The present verse may be an allusion to that event, the point being that what the priests of Judah were doing was no better than Ahaz’s idolatry. God ironically wished for another King Ahaz who would construct a visible barrier between God and His people like the one they already had constructed in their hearts. After Judah’s great wickedness had brought about the devastating punishment of exile, it is amazing that the abundance of Judah’s gratitude for the Lord’s restoration should have reverted so quickly to empty ritual. . . . The Lord Is not dependent upon human offerings or service. They are a means of testifying to His greatness and exalting His name, and He is pleased with sincere praise and worship. Worship also benefits the worshipers, serving to nourish their relationship with God individually and to encourage one another in the faith. But religious activity performed without genuine love and gratitude to God is not only useless but repulsive to Him because it slanders His character. God does not need our gifts or our service, and His favor cannot be bought. Gifts that are offered ‘reluctantly or under compulsion (2 Cor. 9:7)’ humiliate the recipient and place him under obligation. The God who can transform the stones into followers (Matt. 3:9) wants no part in such a transaction.” Today’s verse is a call to reflection. It is time for us, Beloved, to evaluate what we are offering to the Lord. If we are giving to Him anything but our best, then He is resolutely telling us to shut the doors and go home. God will not settle for our trifles. He wants all of our hearts and all of our worship. We need to seriously approach the Lord with humility the next time we enter into His place of worship. We need to be asking ourselves what kind of offering I am bringing the Lord today.
- Are you willing to give God the love, honor and respect He rightfully deserves?
- Or is your worship amounting to God saying, “Close the doors”?
Prayer: Father, may the day not come where all the church offers You is leftovers. Send a revival in Your body and let us return to authentic worship. Amen.