READ: Malachi 1-2
THINK: Do you always give your best-or do you often need a little nudge to do so? Perhaps it depends on the situation, need or task at hand. When it comes to God's purposes, though, we shouldn't need added incentive. God the Father gave His absolute best through His Son, Jesus, who gave His life to pay the price for your sin. Follow His example by giving Him your best, not your leftovers. In your personal time with God, give Him the prime time of your day, not what remains after you've taken care of everything else on your list. Follow His plans and serve His purposes-and do all you do-with your best efforts. And when you give your finances and resources, it should be a sincere sacrifice. In fact, your entire life should be a living sacrifice to Him (Romans 12:1).
RESPOND: By the time of Malachi's ministry, how long had it been since the first Jewish exiles from Babylon had returned to their homeland, and how had the people's attitudes about God's plans changed during that time? (See 1:1 note.) According to 1:2, what did people start to doubt? (See 1:2 note.) Why were these doubts unfounded, and what was the real reason behind the people's troubles? (See 1:2 note.) What do you think it means that people would say, "Great is the LORD-even beyond the borders of Israel!" (1:5)? How had the priests shown a lack of respect for God (1:6-8), and how are their failures an example to us? (See 1:6-8 note, subpoints 1 & 2.) What does 1:10 say about insincere sacrifices? In what way is Malachi's prediction in 1:11 being partially fulfilled today? (See 1:11 note.) Who came from Levi's family line (2:4), and what example were they to set for all God's followers (2:5- 6)? (See 2:4-6 note.) Why wasn't God accepting the people's offerings, what personal covenant were they breaking, (2:14), and why? (See 2:14 note.) How does God feel about divorce (2:16), and why? (See 2:16 note.)
PRAY: Ask God to help you obey Him so the joy of following His plans stays vibrant and fresh. Pray that you won't give in to doubts about the Lord's love. Commit to always giving Him your best in all you have and do.
ACT: Are you in any way giving God the leftovers rather than the best of your time, efforts or resources? If so, rearrange your priorities and schedule to reflect a sincere desire to honor God with all you have and do. Put some extra income toward a church ministry or missions project.
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