The joy of being in the presence of God
Look! I am sending my messenger, and he will prepare the way before me. Then the Lord you are seeking will suddenly come to his Temple. The messenger of the covenant, whom you look for so eagerly, is surely coming,” says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies. “But who will be able to endure it when he comes? Who will be able to stand and face him when he appears? For he will be like a blazing fire that refines metal, or like a strong soap that bleaches clothes. He will sit like a refiner of silver, burning away the dross. He will purify the Levites, refining them like gold and silver, so that they may once again offer acceptable sacrifices to the Lord. Then once more the Lord will accept the offerings brought to him by the people of Judah and Jerusalem, as he did in the past. Malachi 3:1-4 When we come to God in worship, He looks at our motives. Worship is not based on how eventful the activities are but on the attitude of the heart. From the text, Prophet Malachi was sent by God to admonish the Israelites for their worship was becoming more of a ritual. They became focused on the activities rather than pleasing the Lord with their lives. Malachi was sent by God to call them back to faithfulness to their commitment to Him and to their family (see Malachi 2). They were also called to repent for their disobedience to God’s commands (see Malachi 3:6-12). They were also charged by God of jealousy towards the ungodly people blaming God for making them prosperous. They even made the remark, “What’s the use of serving God? What have we gained by obeying his commands?” (Malachi 3:14). Because their hearts were not in tune with God, their expression of worship became insipid and monotonous. When our relationship with God is weak, worship gets affected. We can go through the motions by the things we do but all of these expressions are nothing more than religious activities. God told the Israelites that before their worship could become acceptable again, He has to purge their hearts with having wrong motives. He called them to repentance and to realize that when they worship, they are before His holy presence. Nowadays, we have a tendency to fill our worship with activities only meant to enhance our experience. People have a tendency to replace real worship with external things thinking that having such will provide an authentic experience with God. So if you are not having a genuine worship experience, do not blame the church for not providing quality worship activities but instead look deeper in your heart. Allow God to cultivate your heart so its desire is to please no one else but God. Once this become your daily experience, your worship becomes the expression of your heart and you attain the freedom to be the person He wants you to be. “A single day in your courts is better than a thousand anywhere else! I would rather be a gatekeeper in the house of my God than live the good life in the homes of the wicked” (Psalm 84:10).