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God’s Word for You

Malachi 1:11 The name of God

by Pastor Timothy Smith on Saturday, January 16, 2021

11 From the rising to the setting of the sun, my name will be great among the nations. In every place incense and pure offerings will be offered to my name. For my name shall be great among the nations,” says the LORD of Armies.

God will receive the honor that is due to him. If it doesn’t come from the Jews, then it will come from the Gentiles. This kind of language infuriated the mob of Jews outside the temple when Paul was arrested (Acts 22:21). It is clear from the context and the language of the verse, especially the use of God’s divine name, “the LORD of Armies,” that this verse refers only to the true God and to no other God. And yet for more than one hundred years this passage has been claimed by Jewish Rabbis and many misled Christians that worship offered sincerely to any divinity is somehow offered to the true God. This one passage has been lifted up in churches and synagogues around the world to permit the most atrocious idolatry without qualm. Just how a pagan who is offering sacrifices to the stars or a misguided millennial praying to Satan could possibly be doing anything that might please the Creator, the LORD of Armies, mystifies anyone with a sincere faith. “I am afraid,” Paul wrote, “that just as Eve was deceived by the serpent’s cunning, your minds may somehow be led astray from your sincere and pure devotion to Christ” (2 Corinthians 11:3). Notice that God declares that true worship will be given to “my name,” and no other. Isaiah said to idolaters in Israel, “The idols among the smooth stones of the ravines are your portion, they are your lot. Yes, to them you have poured out drink offerings and offered grain offerings. In the light of these things, should I hold back my wrath?” (Isaiah 57:6). How can any worship of a false god, however sincere it might be, ever be acceptable to the one true God?

The true Creator-God, the Maker of the Universe, is condemning everyone who worships anything but him. Any other worship adores the creation and not the Creator. How could his own people Israel have forsaken him so soon after returning from their exile? It seems that when they returned to Judea, they began to despise God in their hearts. They didn’t think that he lived up to their own ideas of justice. The rebuilt temple, hardly impressive, was a poor substitute, they thought, for Solomon’s. The city was still falling down in places, although the walls had been rebuilt (Nehemiah 3:13,15,27, etc.). They were still under Persian domination.

But it was not the bigness of the building God looked for in a temple, but pure hearts that worshiped there. “Who may ascend the hill of the Lord? Who may stand in his holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not lift up his soul to an idol or swear by what is false” (Psalm 24:3-4).

It was not the secure fastness of the city that mattered, but God’s strength to surround and protect his people. “‘I will now arise,’ says the Lord, ‘I will protect them from those who malign them.’ And the words of the Lord are flawless” (Psalm 12:5-6).

And as for Persia, if they had paid attention to the writings of the other prophets, they would have read from Daniel that the Persians would soon be overthrown by the Greeks (Daniel 8:21, 10:20 and 11:2).

God promised through Ezekiel: “I will show the holiness of my great name, which has been profaned among the nations, the name you have profaned among them. Then the nations will know that I am the LORD, declares the LORD God, when I showed myself holy through you before their eyes” (Ezekiel 36:23).

God is really saying that if his chosen people don’t worship him, he will call someone else to worship him. But that will be true worship, giving glory to the true God, through his Son Jesus Christ. When worship stopped in Judea, it was carried to Asia Minor and Europe, and even North Africa. When it stopped in Europe, it was carried to North and South America. Now that it has begun to stop in North America, and is being wiped out in favor of paganism in much of South America, it is going into central and southern Africa, and into the far East as well. This will keep going on until the Lord comes again to judge everyone. And everyone who trusted in Jesus will be raised up and taken into heaven. That’s why we keep sharing our faith. Trust in him, and keep taking his gospel out into the world beginning with your neighbors, your friends, and the people you love.

In Christ,
Pastor Timothy Smith

Pastor Tim Smith

About Pastor Timothy Smith
Pastor Smith serves St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in New Ulm, Minnesota. To receive God’s Word for You via e-mail, please contact Pastor Smith.


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