In Malachi 1:11 God explains the reason why He is so sternly rebuking His people for their hypocritical, self-deceived, God-demeaning worship: “For from the rising of the sun to its setting My name will be great among the nations.”
God is not talking about time. He is talking about location. God is not declaring that His name will be praised from the time that the sun rises to the time that the sun sets. He is declaring that His name will be praised from the place where the sun rises to the place where the sun sets. He is declaring that His name will be praised from the farthest reaches of the east to the farthest reaches of the west. And everywhere in between.
This becomes clear in the second half of the verse: “in every place incense will be offered to my name, and a pure offering. For my name will be great among the nations, says the LORD of hosts.”
It is one thing for God to summon me to praise Him from dawn to sunset each day of my life. It is quite another for Him to summon the nations of the world to sound His praise from their easternmost nooks to their westernmost crannies. It is not so much that He wants my entire schedule to praise Him. It is that He wants the entire earth to praise Him. Because He is bigger than my schedule.
God is designing, creating, summoning, training, and directing a symphony of praise for Himself, and no instrument will be left out.
God is not interested in having only well-trained voices of praise ringing out from the west and echoing in the east. Nor is He satisfied with teams of ambassadors traveling from the east to sing their songs of praise in the west. No, God is jealously passionate to hear the voices of north, south, east, and west blending together, a diverse choir, in perfect harmony, singing His praise.
He does not just want to be praised above the nations, by the righteous angels and the heavenly saints. He does not just want to be praised despite the nations, by the redeemed faithful and the world’s outcasts. He wants to be praised among the nations, “in every place.”
This was the mission of Israel, and this is the mission of the church: “from the rising of the sun to its setting My name will be great among the nations.”