And if you offer the blind for sacrifice, is it not evil? and if you offer the lame and sick, is it not evil?…
They performed solemn duties hypocritically. Malachi would show them their folly by asking them to test their conduct by the way in which the (Persian) governor of the land would regard it.
I. MEN OFTEN ACT TOWARDS GOD AS THEY WOULD NOT ACT TOWARDS AN EARTHLY RULER. Men generally respect human authorities. If gifts are presented to them they are of the best. They humble themselves before human majesty, and fear to insult it. But men act differently towards God.
1. How many stand in His presence and profane His name. Let them offer that to their governor.
2. How men treat His authority and disregard His commands.
3. How many pretend to make sacrifices for His cause, and yet give only that which is worthless, or what they think will bring the man equivalent in temporal good.
4. How many render heartless homage and selfish service. Men act in these ways sometimes through
(1) Spiritual insensibility;
(3) erroneous conceptions of God; or
(4) covetousness.God has a right to all that we possess. No earthly governor has such a claim upon us. To act towards Him deceitfully is foolish, ungrateful, and ruinous.
II. OUR CONDUCT TOWARDS GOD MAY BE TESTED BY THE WAY IN WHICH IT WOULD BE RECEIVED BY AN EARTHLY RULER. Such rulers are not always just. This is a test that is —
1. Easily applied.
2. One that the humblest can comprehend.
3. One that may reveal much.
4. One that should be applied honestly.
III. THE DISPLEASURE OF AN EARTHLY GOVERNOR MAY REFLECT THE DISPLEASURE OF GOD. This is not always the case. Rulers have been displeased with and persecuted the most holy. But the honest displeasure of a ruler against hypocritical pretensions and deceitful gifts is a reflection of the Divine displeasure. Would thy "governor" be "pleased with thee"? If not, there is —
1. Just cause to fear.
2. Need of reformation.
3. And of a truer consecration of yourselves and your property to God.Learn — Our holiest acts need examination. Our sacrifices may be worthless. It is a great sin to act niggardly towards God.
(W. Osborne Lilley.)
Parallel VersesKJV: And if ye offer the blind for sacrifice, is it not evil? and if ye offer the lame and sick, is it not evil? offer it now unto thy governor; will he be pleased with thee, or accept thy person? saith the LORD of hosts.
WEB: When you offer the blind for sacrifice, isn't that evil? And when you offer the lame and sick, isn't that evil? Present it now to your governor! Will he be pleased with you? Or will he accept your person?" says Yahweh of Armies.