…if you will not take it to heart to give honor to my name, says the LORD of hosts, then I will send the curse upon you… (v. 2a)
The minor prophets, like Malachi, were the Lord’s prosecuting attorneys. They brought God’s charges against Israel. Malachi here singles out the priests. They performed their sacrifices, but not with the prescribed offerings. They executed judgments, but did so with partiality. They instructed the people, but not according to knowledge. They were religious good-for-nothings, dodging their commitments (1:7) and grumbling about their service (1:13).
The particulars of their sin, with obscure Levitical laws and animal guts, seems strange to us. But the root problem is all too familiar. They tried cutting corners with God. Going through the religious motions does not honor God, neither does a casual commitment to Christ without a real concern for obedience. Suppose you had a great college professor you really liked. Outside the classroom you got to be good friends. You had a wonderful relationship. But you didn’t do your homework, study for tests or hand in papers on time. No matter how warm you felt in your heart toward this teacher or how often you showed up for class, he would not feel honored by you. God is glorified not by mere activity or a show of emotion, but by heartfelt obedience to his word.