When the prophet Malachi was sent by the Lord to prophesy to a rebellious Israel, he was in the minority as a follower of God. While most of the people were going through empty, outward religious rituals that they truly despised, Israel was in reality a secular society. Israel had sunk so low that there was a prevalent saying that they used to express their rejection of God and his word–“The table of the Lord is contemptible,” (Malachi 1:7).
Nevertheless, Jehovah put everyone on notice–believers and unbelievers alike in every age–that his name would be great and would be praised all over the world in spite of a God-hating, sin-obsessed majority. He boldly proclaimed in Malachi 1:11,
For from the rising of the sun even unto the going down of the same my name shall be great among the Gentiles; and in every place incense shall be offered unto my name, and a pure offering: for my name shall be great among the heathen, saith the LORD of hosts.
Jehovah’s glory is above and beyond any designated group of clergy or religious building or nation. Through Malachi, God foretold of his kingdom of Christ whose members would span the globe. No matter where it may be day or night, around the clock in “every place” (every nation), God’s name is considered great and is worshiped by someone, somewhere who lives in the midst of heathens. They may not be in prominent visibility to the naked eye, but just as Elijah assumed he was the only one serving God, these believers among the heathen may be seven thousand who have not bowed the knee to Baal (1 Kings 19:18).
One feature of this worldwide worship was genuine reverence for the Lord’s name. His name is great among the Gentiles who truly worship him. Another feature is genuine prayer. The Lord’s people have true fellowship with him as they offer the incense of their prayers to him (Revelation 8:3-4). A third feature of the worldwide worship mentioned in the verse above is that these believers are made pure to give God pure offerings anywhere they may be. God’s kingdom would not be confined to rendering offerings in one specific geographic location. Instead, he would have a people who worship him in spirit and in truth (John 4:24) by their good words and good works.
Those who reject God like the unbelievers in Israel did aren’t really hurting God in the end. They’re only hurting themselves because regardless of how or to what degree they seek to oppose God, God’s name is and shall forever be great among the heathen. He has consistently and repeatedly proven himself to be truly worthy of my worship.
(Featured image: African worshipers in a church, by Valeria Rodrigues at Pixabay.)