For from the rising of the sun even to the going down of the same my name shall be great among the Gentiles…
The world rose in vision before Malachi, as one great altar, burning everywhere with the incense of devout hearts, and covered with its myriad races, offering themselves to God as a "pure offering." The vision must have comforted him. The glorious era which Malachi gazed on for a moment has not yet come. We may, however, offer unto God "a pure offering."
I. THE DUTY SUGGESTED. From the earliest ages the custom of presenting offerings to God has prevailed. It might have arisen from instructions given to our first parents, or from the natural instinct of gratitude or of fear. The first family presented their offerings. Christianity does not remove from us this obligation, though Christ has offered Himself without spot for us. He offered Himself that we may be able to offer ourselves through Him. Ourselves are the best offerings we can give. If we had no sense of possession in ourselves we could not consecrate ourselves to God. Every sacrifice, sincerely made for the world's advancement, is an offering presented to God.
II. WHAT A PURE OFFERING IS. Many offerings are not pure. Men defile their offerings by their own impurity. How can man present an offering that shall be pure in God's sight?
1. It must come from a purified heart. Men's hearts may be purified and yearn after God. Holy love may prompt the gift. Cleansing fountains abound on this polluted earth. Angelic ministries, the sanctifying spirit, the purging flame of God's truth, the fountain of forgiving love opened at the Cross, are all ours to take away our guilt, as we seek to present our offerings to God.
2. It must proceed from a penitent and obedient spirit. The disposition of the offerer will be regarded more than the offering. Gifts separated from the inner life are of no value to God.
3. It must emanate from a spirit of entire consecration to God. Entire consecration purifies. To devote ourselves to God is to separate ourselves from sinful defilements. Offerings ever derive their value from the devoted spirit of the offerer. Entire consecration is difficult to our depraved hearts. All lingering covetousness must be conquered.
III. HOW IT SHOULD BE PRESENTED. We should seek not to mar our offering by the way in which we present it. It should be —
1. In faith. Which will lay hold of God's willingness to accept our gifts, however lowly and insignificant they may be. Faith will lead us away from the altar, rejoicing in the assurance that God has accepted our offerings.
2. By Jesus Christ. He is the High Priest of humanity. He presents prayers, praises, works for us. He presents the saints themselves as an offering without blemish to God.
3. With sincerity. God looks into the heart of the offerer. Some offerings are presented only for the eves of men.
4. With grateful eagerness. All lukewarmness should be banished. Grateful love should animate us.
IV. BLESSINGS ATTEND THE PRESENTATION OF A PURE OFFERING. We have a consciousness of Divine approval. Every time we present ourselves as a pure offering to God we receive ourselves back again from His hands with every spiritual power quickened and enlarged.
(W. Osborne Lilley.)
Parallel VersesKJV: For from the rising of the sun even unto the going down of the same my name shall be great among the Gentiles; and in every place incense shall be offered unto my name, and a pure offering: for my name shall be great among the heathen, saith the LORD of hosts.
WEB: For from the rising of the sun even to the going down of the same, my name is great among the nations, and in every place incense will be offered to my name, and a pure offering: for my name is great among the nations," says Yahweh of Armies.