Secondhand pianos

Aslab
Aslan

Secondhand pianos

Will a man rob God? Yet you are robbing Me! But you say, “How have we robbed You?” And – Malachi 3:8

Malachi 1:11-14

 11 But my name is honored by people of other nations from morning till night. All around the world they offer sweet incense and pure offerings in honor of my name. For my name is great among the nations,” says the LORD of Heaven’s Armies.

 12 “But you dishonor my name with your actions. By bringing contemptible food, you are saying it’s all right to defile the Lord’s table.

 13 You say, ‘It’s too hard to serve the LORD,’ and you turn up your noses at my commands,” says the LORD of Heaven’s Armies. “Think of it! Animals that are stolen and crippled and sick are being presented as offerings! Should I accept from you such offerings as these?” asks the LORD.

 14 “Cursed is the cheat who promises to give a fine ram from his flock but then sacrifices a defective one to the Lord. For I am a great king,” says the LORD of Heaven’s Armies, “and my name is feared among the nations!

Most everyone at one time or another may have taken some office supplies from their workplace. Generally speaking, it is not considered a big deal. It’s like the “little white lie” of stealing. But a new study called “The Slippery Slope: How Small Ethical Transgressions Pave the Way for Larger Future Transgressions” has determined that stealing a pen from work can be a “gateway” to massive corporate fraud. Over time, those who committed these minor misdeeds found it easier to justify bigger levels of stealing in the long run.

Consider Johnny Cash’s song, “One Piece at a Time.” Johnnie sings about working at a GM Cadillac assembly line in Detroit stealing Cadillac parts one piece at a time over 25 years. Finally, he cobbles it together into a Franken-car. His run of thievery began when he stole the first piece.

“People rationalize their behavior to justify it,” Ordóñez, one of the study’s authors, said. “They might think ‘No one got hurt,’ or ‘Everyone does it.’ The next time, they feel fine about doing something a little bit worse the next time and then commit more severe unethical actions.” The study cites Bernie Madoff, who was sentenced to 150 years in prison for orchestrating the largest Ponzi scheme in history, “Well, you know what happens is, it starts out with you taking a little bit, maybe a few hundred, a few thousand. You get comfortable with that, and before you know it, it snowballs into something big” (Emily Cohn, The Huffington Post).

C. Kerry Fields, a professor of business law and ethics at USC says, “I think everyone is doing this to some degree. You can only take the ethical theory of relativism so far until it hits you: this is wrong” (Matt Villano, The New York Times)

How sad it is that people rob from God. How is it even possible? Father doesn’t leave things lying about that we can take from Him. We rob God not by taking something, but rather we rob God by not giving what we have been asked to give. “Since God made and owns everything, He doesn’t need anything that we can bring Him (Acts 17:25)” (Wiersbe).

The Mosaic law is the constitution of the Nation of Israel. Under the Mosaic law, the Father made commitments to the nation of Israel. At the same time, He stipulated what His expectations were for them. The entire sacrificial system was a practical means of meeting the needs of the priesthood to carry on their daily work in the temple. Working in the temple was their “job.” Their wages consisted of taking portions of sacrificial offerings to live on (Numbers 18:8, 11, 19, 21–24).

When the people did not bring the sacrifices, the proceeds of their labor, and give them to the Father through the sacrificial system that He set up to receive them, they robbed God. Consequently, the people deprived the temple of what was needed to keep going.

“When Nehemiah returned to Jerusalem, the temple storerooms were empty of produce and many of the priests and Levites had abandoned their service to go back home and work their fields in order to care for their families (Nehemiah 13:10). The people had vowed to bring their tithes (Nehemiah 10:34-39), but they hadn’t kept their vow” (Wiersbe).

Malachi 3:8 “Should people rob God? Yet you have robbed me! But you ask, ‘What do you mean? When did we ever cheat you?’ “You have cheated me of the tithes and offerings due to me.”

REFLECT & PRAY

“Don’t bring God something leftover that you do not want . . .. He deserves our best” (Stanley).

Father help me to keep my commitment to You. It is in my nature to give You less than my best, cut corners, and just get by.

INSIGHT

The Father wants our best. Rather than give Him what He wants and deserves, we decide what to give to Him instead. It is often a paltry substitute.

Malachi directs his message especially to the priests (Malachi 1:6; 2:1, 7–8) . . .. The priests who were supposed to honor God’s name were disgracing it. . .. The priests were supposed to be God’s children, yet they weren’t honoring their Father; they were called to be God’s servants, yet they showed no respect for their Master. When Malachi confronted them, the priests arrogantly asked, ‘In what way have we despised Your name?’ (Malachi 1:6, NKJV), so he told them” (Wiersbe).

Malachi 1:6-14

 6 The LORD of Heaven’s Armies says to the priests: “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? You have shown contempt for my name! “But you ask, ‘How have we ever shown contempt for your name?’”

 7 “You have shown contempt by offering defiled sacrifices on my altar. Then you ask, ‘How have we defiled the sacrifices?’ You defile them by saying the altar of the LORD deserves no respect.”

 8 “When you give blind animals as sacrifices, isn’t that wrong? And isn’t it wrong to offer animals that are crippled and diseased? Try giving gifts like that to your governor, and see how pleased he is!” says the LORD of Heaven’s Armies.

 10 “How I wish one of you would shut the Temple doors so that these worthless sacrifices could not be offered! I am not pleased with you,” says the LORD of Heaven’s Armies, “and I will not accept your offerings.”

 11 “But my name is honored by people of other nations from morning till night. All around the world they offer sweet incense and pure offerings in honor of my name. For my name is great among the nations,” says the LORD of Heaven’s Armies.

 12 “But you dishonor my name with your actions. By bringing contemptible food, you are saying it’s all right to defile the Lord’s table.”

 13 “You say, ‘It’s too hard to serve the LORD,’ and you turn up your noses at my commands,” says the LORD of Heaven’s Armies. “Think of it! Animals that are stolen and crippled and sick are being presented as offerings! Should I accept from you such offerings as these?” asks the LORD.

 14 “Cursed is the cheat who promises to give a fine ram from his flock but then sacrifices a defective one to the Lord. For I am a great king,” says the LORD of Heaven’s Armies, “and my name is feared among the nations!”

As you ponder the actions of the priests and their reaction to Malachi’s confrontation, do you see yourself? I do. The Old Testament is full of stories that reveal human nature and sinfulness at its worst. These stories are intended as object lessons for all children of the King to observe. The hope is we can do better than they did.

Romans 15:4 Such things were written in the Scriptures long ago to teach us.

We are guilty of the same attitude and actions. Do you give the Father are very best? Or do we give him second-best, third-best, or even worse?

Perhaps that is why churches have secondhand pianos. The people that donated them, bought a brand-new piano for themselves and gave what was left over to the Father.

Malachi 1:12-13

 12 “But you dishonor my name with your actions. By bringing contemptible food, you are saying it’s all right to defile the Lord’s table.”

 13 “You say, ‘It’s too hard to serve the LORD,’ and you turn up your noses at my commands,” says the LORD of Heaven’s Armies. “Think of it! Animals that are stolen and crippled and sick are being presented as offerings! Should I accept from you such offerings as these?” asks the LORD.

Many of you receive a copy of the Reflection in your email.

Often after it is published, I review it one more time and tweak it.

To read the most up-to-date version, please click on the title.

¯\_()_/¯

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