This prophecy was written about the time that Nehemiah and Ezra were in Jerusalem. Through Malachi the Lord criticized the religious leaders as well as the people for their lack of faith manifested in improper worship and general immorality. The priests at the restored Temple were the first to fall under the Lord’s judgment for they failed to take their responsibilities for proper worship seriously or honestly. The Lord exhorted them to get right with Him, to halt their watered-down worship and honor Him with pure offerings and faithful service. Despite what they thought, despite their complaints about Him, He loved them and had always been faithful to His covenant though they had not. The people were also to blame for they failed to give the Lord their best. What they did give was offered with dishonorable and selfish motives.
What we read here should tell us that while we who are in Christ are no longer bound by the Law of Moses, we still must give our best to God. He is second to no one, yet we often act as if we were more important than He. Instead of giving Him the bulk of our resources, our time and talents, we spend them most and primarily on ourselves to satisfy the lusts of the flesh, or to look good and important in the eyes of the world. Then the Lord gets only what is left over, if then. God loves us and blesses us, but He is not pleased by such behavior. We cannot hold back our offering and spend our resources only on ourselves if we expect to advance the Kingdom of God. Whatever we have is His.