“3 He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver, and he will purify the sons of Levi and refine them like gold and silver, and they will bring offerings in righteousness to the Lord. 4 Then the offering of Judah and Jerusalem will be pleasing to the Lord as in the days of old and as in former years.” Malachi 3:3-4 (ESV)
Notice that only after being purified by the refiners fire is our worship acceptable and pleasing to God “as in the days of old.” It is striking that many times we may enter worship with unconfessed unrepented sin in our lives and expect God to be glorified. Our worship brings no honor to God while we raise hands that are stained. We must first deal with our sin, confessing, repenting, and seeking His forgiveness. Only then will our offerings be pleasing to the Lord. It reminds me of a passage from the Sermon on the Mount where Jesus says,
“So if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.” Matthew 5:23-24 (ESV)
As we prepare for Christmas this year, let’s deal with our sin and then lavishly worship our Savior. Let’s bring our gifts to him like the magi. Let’s celebrate his coming like the shepherds.