MALACHI -Sixth in a series
Malachi 1:8 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.
In the previous post we asked whether the meal offerings (Mal 1:7) were unacceptable to God because the people could have prepared them more carefully or used better ingredients.
Their meal offerings betrayed a lackadaisical attitude toward the priest who was their mediator with the Lord. And when the priest shared a handful of the bread as a burnt offering on the altar, it was not a sweet savor to the Lord. It stunk.
In verse 8 we see a similar dilemma. The animals brought by the people for sacrifices, to substitute for their sinful acts, whether of omission or commission, whether done in ignorance or wittingly, did not meet God's standards. This was much worse than lackadaisical or passionless; it was an affront to God and an abuse of the priest's office.
As with the meal offerings, the sin or trespass offering was according to the person's circumstances. If he had a herd, a bull would be offered; if a flock, then a sheep (or other— (Lev 5:6)); if neither, then turtledoves or pigeons according to the type of offering. Yet they were to bring an animal without a blemish. (Num 29:13; Deut 15:21) These duties were performed by the Jews for centuries to preserve a faithful witness so that we could become members of God's family, and for their service, we should always show respect and gratefulness to them (except to those of whom Christ says, "which say they are Jews, and are not" (Rev 2:9; 3:9)).
"In each instance the animal was a domestic, a creature that was tame and fed on vegetation… Only the docile creature could represent the pure and holy One who gave his life a ransom for many. The animals had to be free from blemish as they prefigured the One who was free from sin." (ibid, p. 17--see previous post)
The blemished animal "spoiled the type," a phrase we often hear regarding Old Testament objects that represented Christ, such as the rock in the wilderness that gushed water when Moses struck it, but in the manner he did so, the type was spoiled, and Moses then was not permitted to enter the promised land (Num 20:11-12). It was a serious matter to spoil the type.
The offering of blind, lame and sick animals was somewhat on the level of a bribe, where a person seeks to gain pardon through a payoff far less than the crime merits, betraying an attitude of privilege and involving the mediator in the underhanded transaction. However, Malachi 1:14 makes clear that the people who brought these to sacrifice, did so to deceive the priests: But cursed be the deceiver, which hath in his flock a male, and voweth, and sacrificeth unto the Lord a corrupt thing.
The priests, whether truly deceived or only glossing over the deception, were as much at fault as the perfidious people. They should have rejected these offerings. Anyone who knows the right thing to do and does not do it, sins. (James 4:17) Offering them made them complicit in the sin. They were leading the people astray from God's law in their acceptance of the blemished animals.
The visibility factor
Malachi argued that these priests would not offer sick animals to their governor (Mal 1:8), who would not take them off their hands anyway.
Governors are people we can see; people who might harm us. God is invisible. Perhaps we do not perceive any threat.
Though we see God in nature and we see his works in many ways, we cannot see him. We must have faith that he really is there-- here-- and that he reveals his character, plans, law and path to salvation in his Word.
Did the priests and people have faith? Do we?
God IS here… be not faithless, but believing (Jhn 20:27).