Vol. 8-29 – 07-16-2023 – Friday Stew and Glory Days
“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? Present that to your governor; will he accept you or show you favor?” says the Lord of Hosts. And now entreat the favor of God, that He may be gracious to us. With such a gift from your hand, will He show favor to any of you?” says the Lord of Hosts. Oh that there were one among you who would shut the doors, that you might not kindle fire on my altar in vain! – Malachi 1:8-10
Now there are two of us living in our home. That makes for some interesting meals. I generally fix breakfast. I have a list—in my mind. I am always finding something to add to what I am cooking. Donna likes to try my new recipes. Problem is, I do not write them down, so an exact repeat is not always forthcoming.
When I fix pancakes, I throw in pecans, and dried apples, and add an extra egg and a little baking powder. Then I heat up Mrs. Butterworth’s sugar-free syrup. You will have to email me to get my ingredients for Cream of Wheat – it is not what you would expect. And then there is my cornmeal mush. To die for.
I also cook eggs in various ways. Turkey sausage. Chicken sausage. And omelets.
The big challenge for evening meals is what to do with the leftovers. Here is a suggestion. Draw straws; the shortest straw gets to cook using leftovers. I saw a sort of recipe for Friday Stew. You get a pot and open the fridge; find all the leftovers.
Whatever the leftover, toss it in the pot. Add some spices and you have Friday (or whatever day you choose) Stew. No real recipe, just stuff.
In Malachi, it does not appear that the Lord was impressed with their leftovers. They were required to bring animal sacrifices for the Temple worship, but they brought their leftovers. A goat that was lame, not fit for home cooking. A cow that was sick, not fit for home cooking. Maybe chickens that would not lay eggs anymore (I’m guessing they had chickens). And whatever other damaged goods they had.
It was good enough for the Temple (church).
God had given clear instructions regarding what was appropriate for the sacrifices. The people said to themselves, this is good enough for the Temple. It is just going to be burned up. Sort of like today’s church donations—not good enough for the rescue mission, or Good Will store, but good enough for the church. It also has value; we can claim in on our income taxes.
“And now, O priests, this command is for you. If you will not listen, if you will not take it to heart to give honor to My name,” says the Lord of Hosts, “I will send the curse upon you and I will curse your blessings. Indeed, I have already cursed them, because you do not lay it to heart.” –Malachi 2:1-2
These commandments are serious. The Judeans did not respect God. Wholeheartedly. Reverently. Rejected His instructions. Treated God with disrespect.
What do you think? Should you not look down your nose at their arrogance? What is the issue? The heart. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. –Matthew 6:21
Leftovers . . .
O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing! See, your house is left to you desolate. For I tell you, you will not see me again, until you say, ‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord.” –Matthew 23:37-39
Does your heart ache to return to the days of blessings? Blessings of marriage. Blessings of the voices of children. Blessings with neighbors. Blessings of your church? Blessings for your nation?
Strange, is it not, that things change over the years? Some of us witness the crumbling of marriages in our families and extended families. Our hearts ache. They had pre-marital counsel. Married in the church. It looked like they would be long-term (lifetime). Then they were not.
Then there are the kids. Good students. Respectful. Happy. Seem to be growing in the Lord. But then they are not. What happened?
That close friend that had everything together. Marriage. Church. Job. Nice home. Then it all went downhill. Why?
In each of these cases, it seems that the presence of the Lord vanished from their lives. They do not know how to get it back, or they do not want it back? Why? Or, why not?
I recently led a study in the book of Ezekiel. The nation of Judah (the Southern Kingdom) grew cold toward the holy God. They, instead, chased after foreign gods, idols. The glory of God had been in the Temple at Jerusalem. Ezekiel 11:23 is the depiction of God’s Shekinah glory leaving the Temple and positioning on the Mount of Olives directly in front of the Judeans. They acted as if they never noticed.
In the book of Matthew, Israel, the nation, is pictured as being lost in its wilderness (a spiritual wilderness). Christ spoke the Gospel of forgiveness, healed the sick, lame, demon-possessed, and gathered disciples. Christ, God’s glory, walked among these Jews for three years. Yet Matthew 9:36 reveals that they were wandering as lost sheep without a shepherd.
What does Jesus want—for their marriages to be healed, for their children’s lives to be responsive, for believer’s friends to be made right. For His love, grace, and mercy to be received. To be seen. Not rejected. It was and is a life/death matter.
God asks us for our best. Is that too much after He gave His Son for our rescue? It is not a difficult expectation. What does He expect? Our energy. A portion of our resources. Our attention. Our worship. Our care regarding others.
Some reading this wish their relationship with the holy God was like the days of their beginning walk with Him.
Do you know that the way back to God, your relationship with God, is the path that brought you to Him in your beginning relationship? Why is that so difficult? It is not.
Confess. Ask His forgiveness. He is waiting (like a hen to gather in His chicks).
Can you look back to a time when your served God heartily? With passion? Commitment? Joy? It should not be behind you. You can turn. It is called repentance. If you have strayed from the Lord, God is available to have that talk you know you need.
Is your life respectful of others? Run to Christ. If you are not living a life of closeness with God, change to draw near. He is waiting.
Do not let the whims of life control you, run to meet Him. He will be there.