The halfhearted service, the halfhearted obedience, and the profanation are evident. The sacrifices that were being offered to God were being done in a way that was not acceptable to Him.
There is no indication that what these people were doing was deliberate. It seems that it was not a reasoned conclusion that it should be done this way. They were not purposefully worshipping God this way. It was not in their heart to do it! But it was nonetheless being done that way. They were treating God as though He and the things of the altar—the service and the sacrifice of the altar—were less important than other things. The way they performed the ritual showed that in their hearts they considered it a secondary matter. Other things were squeezing out what should have been their first priority.
John W. Ritenbaugh
The Fourth Commandment (Part 4)
Israel profaned God's name by giving offerings in a lying and deceitful attitude, as Ananias and Sapphira did (Acts 5:1-11). They kept the best animals for themselves while offering blemished ones to God. We fear God's name, not only by keeping all of God's law—including the statutes and judgments (Deuteronomy 28:58)—but also by giving God our best effort in doing His will.
Martin G. Collins
The Third Commandment
God wants us to realize how great He is, and when we give an offering, we are to do so with His greatness in mind. The offerings Israel made at this time were not done with a right heart. They were becoming indifferent toward God and the way they conducted their lives. They were treating the commands of God with familiarity and carelessness. They came to look upon them as simply ordinary. Thus, He says that He has no pleasure in Israel and would not accept their offerings.
We are to worship God in spirit and in truth (John 4:24)'from our heart and with a right attitude. We should be deeply appreciative of all His love toward us, the good that He does for us, and the care that He gives us. Whatever we do before God must be done with a right heart, and whatever we give must be given in a right attitude. Abraham reflected this, and he is known as the "father of the faithful" (Romans 4:16). God knew that Abraham would instruct his children to follow suit (Genesis 18:19).
John O. Reid (1930-2016)
Other Forerunner Commentary entries containing Malachi 1:12: