God is deeply concerned about the honour of His name. So too should we be.
The honour of His name is what was at stake as God addressed the priests and people of Malachi’s time. Three times in the first chapter alone we see God fiercely defending the honour of His own name.
Your own eyes shall see this, and you shall say, “Great is the Lord beyond the border of Israel!”
For from the rising of the sun to its setting my name will be great among the nations, and in every place incense will be offered to my name, and a pure offering. For my name will be great among the nations, says the Lord of hosts.
Cursed be the cheat who has a male in his flock, and vows it, and yet sacrifices to the Lord what is blemished. For I am a great King, says the Lord of hosts, and my name will be feared among the nations.
When it came to worship, the priests had been accepting and condoning the practise of presenting inferior animals for sacrifice contrary to God’s law and though they knew better. God was left feeling betrayed and dishonoured by them commenting how they would never get away with bringing such presents to their human governors precisely because of the offence and displeasure it would cause. And yet that was what they regularly practised toward God exposing their loss of respect and honour for Him in their hearts.
When you offer blind animals in sacrifice, is that not evil? And when you offer those that are lame or sick, is that not evil? Present that to your governor; will he accept you or show you favor? says the Lord of hosts.
God was disrespected and undermined by the very people whom He had appointed to represent Him and honour His name. Those appointed to serve Him at His table were the very same ones responsible for the desecration of His name by their callous and nonchalant approach toward their responsibility.
They were appointed to provide instruction, guidance and direction to God’s people. They failed in their responsibility turning from the way themselves and causing many to stumble.
Such is always the case when those at the forefront, in positions of responsibility, fail to live up to God’s standard and calling upon their lives – they cause others to stumble too – a very grave sin indeed according the the Lord.
“But whoever causes the downfall of one of these little ones who believe in Me — it would be better for him if a heavy millstone were hung around his neck and he were drowned in the depths of the sea!
The Lord did not take the matter of causing others to stumble lightly. Neither should we. We have to pay all the more closer attention to our own walks with the Lord and service to Him. We must strive to serve God with a passion for His name and its honour among us by maintaining and growing His fear in our lives.
2 Corinthians 7:1 (NKJV)
Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.
Holiness is perfected (made complete) in the fear of God – honouring and respecting Him for the great God He is. We must take the fear of God and our separation from the world very seriously indeed if we are to accomplish our puropses as God’s people.
As leaders, we must serve Him in awe and reverence instructing others by our example of service in holiness and righteousness.