Here are some things people might say to excuse themselves from worshiping and serving God: “I’m tired.”

“I feel unappreciated.”

“I don’t want to do it.”

Would we use such excuses with our employers? Hmm. . . I doubt it. So why is it that we dare to use them with God? That was exactly God’s question to His people in Malachi 1:6-14.

The Israelites were dishonoring God’s name by bringing defiled sacrifices to Him. They were supposed to bring their best, but they were choosing to present their worst—animals that were diseased and not whole (Malachi 1:7-8). By giving Him worthless offerings and ignoring His laws concerning acceptable animal sacrifices (Leviticus 22:17-25; Deuteronomy 15:21), they showed how little they thought of Him.

So God said, “Try giving gifts like that to your governor, and see how pleased he is!” (Malachi 1:8). Here the Lord gives us a valuable test to determine how well we’re going about our service to Him: Are we trying to present to God the things we wouldn’t dare present to a human leader?

One Bible teacher pointedly questions: “How can we possibly have less respect for the King of kings than we do for the political powers who are appointed by Him?” God is not only the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, He’s also our Father and Master. We’re to love and honor Him. As we read the Lord’s message to Israel of old, we should ask ourselves: Are we giving God our leftover time and energy—our second-best? Or our best?

“A son honors his father, and a servant respects his master. If I am your Father and Master, where are the honor and respect I deserve?” (Malachi 1:6).

Is God saying this to you today?

NLT 365-day reading plan passage for today: Numbers 21:4-9