YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED!
Gracious Lord, awaken me to the exciting adventure of being guided by you in my understanding.
Read MALACHI 2:1-9
Additional Warning to the Priests
2 “And now, you priests, this warning is for you. 2 If you do not listen, and if you do not resolve to honor my name,” says the Lord Almighty, “I will send a curse on you, and I will curse your blessings. Yes, I have already cursed them, because you have not resolved to honor me.
3 “Because of you I will rebuke your descendants[a]; I will smear on your faces the dung from your festival sacrifices, and you will be carried off with it. 4 And you will know that I have sent you this warning so that my covenant with Levi may continue,” says the Lord Almighty. 5 “My covenant was with him, a covenant of life and peace, and I gave them to him; this called for reverence and he revered me and stood in awe of my name. 6 True instruction was in his mouth and nothing false was found on his lips. He walked with me in peace and uprightness, and turned many from sin.
7 “For the lips of a priest ought to preserve knowledge, because he is the messenger of the Lord Almighty and people seek instruction from his mouth. 8 But you have turned from the way and by your teaching have caused many to stumble; you have violated the covenant with Levi,” says the Lord Almighty. 9 “So I have caused you to be despised and humiliated before all the people, because you have not followed my ways but have shown partiality in matters of the law.”
- Malachi 2:3 Or will blight your grain
New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
‘But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession’.1 What a privilege and what a responsibility!
Malachi’s second oracle continues with a warning to the priests. If we think that this applies only to church leaders, we should heed Peter’s words above. Every Christian belongs to a ‘royal priesthood’ and has priestly responsibilities. Malachi warns the priests that they must be determined to give honor (kābhȏdh) to God’s name. They are to give a true picture of who and what God is by their teaching and way of life. Kābhȏdh also means ‘glory’. Paul tells the Corinthian Christians, ‘So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.’2
God warns the priests that failing to glorify him puts them under a curse that extends to their seed. This could mean their descendants, or the crops from which came the tithes and offerings on which they depended, or both (v 3). In strong language he speaks of humiliating them. Their faces will be smeared with the entrails of the sacrifices, making them ritually impure. These parts were usually taken away from God’s presence to be burnt outside the city. The priests should go with them! They deserve such rejection because they are not living up to their responsibilities, the ‘covenant with Levi’ (vs 4,8). There is no mention in the Old Testament of when this covenant was made, but it is alluded to elsewhere.3 Keeping it required giving ‘True instruction’ and walking with God ‘in peace and uprightness’ (v 6) – that is, both a good knowledge and understanding of the Law and a deep personal relationship with God. Only such people can be effective priests, standing between God and others, helping them to turn from sin toward God. Micah says that God expects all his people ‘To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God’.4 Those who do this will enjoy ‘life and peace’ (v 5).
Think of a responsibility or gift you have and consider prayerfully how to fulfill the responsibility or use the gift to glorify God.
Show me Lord Jesus, how to use what I have – time, talents, money – in practical ways that communicate your love for others.
1 1 Pet 2:9 2 1 Cor 10:31 3 Neh 13:29; Jer 33:21 4 Mic 6:8
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