Return to me, and I will return to you. That is the message in the first part of Malachi 3.
Way before the Lord speaks about the tithe in the latter part of Malachai 3, the Word speaks of Christ coming. This Messiah does not seem to be all cuddly here. In fact, it states quite plainly that He will refine, purify, those who seek to offer sacrifices so that they will be righteous before God.
When this happens, it states that God will act. But you have to go back to Isaiah 58 to understand how to get into this acceptable place of acceptable sacrifice.
True fasting is found in Isaiah 58. The definition of fasting has been obscured by traditions of men- just as God revealed through the prophet Isaiah. God desired that each of us walk humbly with God, and:
* Repent of sin (turn away from being in any state that keeps us from a close relationship with God. “God, I am sorry. I want to do things your way.”)
The next action requires complete submission to God as you need to be willing to be a spiritual warrior (if you are a follower of Christ, you will know what I mean).
* Loosen the bonds of wickedness (Now “wicked” is not good, it is cruel evil- when someone is attacked by a cruel evil, we are to help that person under attack. In fact, God tells us so many times not to be wicked. If you follow Christ, you are to do what you can – in action and in prayer. This is part of an acceptable sacrifice, part of an active fast)
*Break every bondage (Bondage is anything that has a hold on you- it might be drugs or another kind of addiction, but it may also be emotional bondage- baggage- or even mental bondage.)
*Free the oppressed.
*Divide your food with the hungry.
*Bring the homeless poor into the house. In fact, if you are homeless and your relatives ignore you, Isaiah 58 insinuates that your family members who turned you away are totally out of touch with God, therefore, in sin.
*Clothe the naked.
*Be available to family- do not turn them away. See above.
*Do not accuse anyone. If you accuse, you are doing the same thing that satan does. So, stop it. Yes, we are to reveal the works of evil…but not be an accuser.
*Satisfy the need of the afflicted.
So, it seems to me from this passage that we have a lot of work to do. If you say you are a Christian or a Messianic Jew, and you believe you have no time to act like this as you live out your daily life, check your pulse. You are alive. God gave you life again today. Are you ready to walk humbly with your God?