All except you. Instead of honoring me, you profane me. You profane me when you say, ‘Worship is not important, and what we bring to worship is of no account,’ and when you say, ‘I’m bored—this doesn’t do anything for me.’ You act so superior, sticking your noses in the air—act superior to me, God-of-the-Angel-Armies! And when you do offer something to me, it’s a hand-me-down, or broken, or useless. Do you think I’m going to accept it? This is God speaking to you!” – Malachi 1:12 (MSG).
Staying focused on God in today’s ever changing world is not easy. Life happens so fast in the 21st Century. We have so much competition for our time reading the Bible that sometimes we wish for “the good old days,” when life was slower and more simple. The truth is that this hectic rush of life we experience isn’t unique to our generation, although it probably seems that way.
You have good intentions to spend regular time in the Bible, but then there is that project at work that has you stressed, or your daughter walks in to ask you something, or you are having a hard time concentrating because you slept only 4 hours last night. You rub your eyes, refocus on what you are reading in Isaiah and doze off. Upon waking you look at your watch and run toward the shower to get ready for your day. It was not what you intended, but you did have your morning devotional…well kinda. In today’s fast paced world it is very easy to have other things take precedence, or supersede the time you spend in the Bible. There are days where the Bible sits on the nightstand unopened. It is all too easy to take God and the Bible for granted.
The Malachi passage above is pointing out that there are things we no longer appreciate as we once did. We treat God as ordinary when we treat Him and our worship of Him as just another activity in our week. And we do this when we make God just another thing on our list of to-dos this week. Nothing should take precedence over spending time with God. Again, it is easy to presume on His love and grace and take it for granted.
Now I don’t think any of us mean to take God for granted. Those of us born and raised in America have come to expect a nice place to live and plenty to eat and drink. Unfortunately when that happens, we begin taking them for granted. That’s just what happens with us and God. When you think about it, God deserves so much more than being taken for granted. At a time like this it is wise to remember who God is. He is God. He loves us and that is evident in the details. Jesus wasn’t mildly embarrassed; He was publicly humiliated. He wasn’t teased; He was mocked and scorned. He wasn’t just put up on a cross and left to die; He was brutality beaten within an inch of his life and forced to carry an unbearably heavy piece of wood. Executioners drove stakes into his palms and feet, and He hung there naked as His beloved people mocked Him some more. Finally, his lungs collapsed. He cried out in agony, feeling forsaken and alone.
And yet, because He deeply loved people, and because He is the God of wonder and power and glory, He literally came back to life, and restored us all to the righteousness. I hope we never take what God did for us for granted.
- Do you feel like you take God for granted? Why or why not?
- How often are you spending time with God right now?
- How much time would you like to be spending with God each week?