Today we started reading the last book of the Old Testament, “The oracle of the word of the LORD to Israel by Malachi”. It is a rebuke to Israel for their attitudes when they offer worship to the Lord. The lesson is that if you offer worship to God at all – you must offer it in a genuine spirit. Malachi tells them they “despise” the name of God; and then ask, “How have we despised your name?”. And the answer! “By offering polluted food upon my altar … 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? … I have no pleasure in you, says the LORD of hosts, and I will not accept an offering from your hand” (1:7,8,10).

Surely our Lord has no pleasure today if He sees us serve in a half-hearted fashion. Could the attitudes of some get so bad that the Lord ‘hears’ you think in your heart “what a weariness this is” (verse 13)? If so, our attitude is no different to the worshippers of old who brought that which was “lame or sick” as their offering.

However the chapter ends on a positive note with God’s declaration, “I am a great King, says the LORD of hosts, and my name will be feared among the nations”. This is the vision of the long term future, but how close could the time now be when, as we read today in Revelation, God judges false and insincere worship and a challenging voice comes from heaven! This begins with a final appeal to those who really believe, “Come out of her, my people, lest you take part in her sins, lest you share in her plagues; for her sins are heaped high as heaven, and God has remembered her iniquities” (18:4,5).

Our world has forgotten there is a God who exists. But God has not forgotten His creation! Today He is completing the final ingathering. Let us be part of that ingathering, our attitude must be the opposite of “weariness” – remember how Jude’s letter concludes. “Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy …”

What great joy awaits those who do not become weary. The ecclesia at Ephesus was commended because, “I know you are enduring patiently and bearing up for my name’s sake, and you have not grown weary” (Revelation 2:3). May our Lord commend us for the same reason – but at the same time, the Ephesians are warned, “But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first. Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent, and do the works you did at first”.