A Warning To Priests To Be Holy Before The Lord
1 “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; 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.”
The prophet Malachi gave a warning to the Levitical priests. Because of their unrighteousness, God would turn their blessings into curses. This would be the sign that God used to show the people that He would not tolerate their immoral behavior. It is a terrible thing when the people who are responsible for administering the law do so in such a way that God’s name is disgraced. With great privilege comes great responsibility, and God assured the people that He wouldn’t turn a blind eye to what was going on.
God expected His priests – the people who administered the law and provided instruction to the people – to be holy before Him, righteous and blameless (not sinless, for everyone has sinned and fallen short of the glory of God). God would reassure the people that He took his covenant with Levi seriously, and that He would not allow the corrupt priests to dishonor His holy name nor their position.
Tell the Truth
Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life…” Jesus was the embodiment of the word of the living God. He was truth personified. Everything that He said was truth, and their was no deceit on His lips. The priests were to act as the spokespersons for God, and they needed to tell the truth to the people. When the priests were deceitful, and warped the word of God towards their own ends, they were in effect marring the image of God.
God does not take this lightly. Jesus has had the harshest words of criticism for those who have been entrusted with guiding the people who follow Satan as their father:
You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.
What a terrible thing it was then when the priests of God, the descendants of Levi, turned from God and turned towards Satan, and allowed falsehood to come to their lips. This should be a wake-up call to all who are called by God to be priests, even of the order of Melchizedek, to speak only the truth. God is truth, and there is no falsehood in Him. The priests of Melchizedek must also walk a life where truth is their native tongue, that they may honor God in their speech and actions
Honorable and Holy
The covenant that God had with Levi and his progeny was a covenant of reverence towards God. The Levitical priests were to be honorable and holy before God. They were required to keep themselves from unclean things, and to wash and prepare in special ways before they would offer the sacrifices of the people to God.
Although everyone is held to the same standard for what they do, the priests were held more accountable before God because of their position and influence that God had provided to them. God expected much more from them, for they understood the law and what God required. Their knowledge and position demanded a higher standard of adherence to God’s requirements to be holy before Him.
Partiality in Precept
And one of the worst things that the priests did was to subvert the justice of God. They showed partiality in the law. It is very similar to allowing the Former Secretary of State of the United States of America to disseminate classified information through unlawful means to be exonerated from the penalties associated with that crime, while people of lesser stature were jailed and fined for far less serious crimes of a similar nature.
When partiality of the law is encountered, the faith of the people in justice dwindles, and the holiness of God is tarnished. The people may attribute false characteristics to God, because the very people God has chosen to display his righteousness and justice have, in treason to God, perverted justice and dishonored His name. And their blessing will be turned into curses. God may be so greatly offended that He would divinely intervene in the election of officials of a nation to show His displeasure and place people who would fear Him and restore faith of the people in His good name, even through people who have sinned greatly against Him. For God is able to forgive and use people who are willing to serve Him and yield to Him.
And to those who hate and despise the God of the Bible, and refuse to acknowledge His name and character by profaning His name through their actions and speech? God will turn their blessings into curses, and bring ruination upon their families for generations. Learn, therefore, you leaders of the world, that God will not tolerate your injustice and hatred forever. God is being gracious, and giving all of you the opportunity to come to Him. You are cordially invited by Almighty God to participate in His gracious offer to repent of your sins, and to be cleansed by the precious shed blood of the Son of God. Avail yourselves of this opportunity while you still have it. Do not delay, lest you find yourselves one day in that dire situation where you no longer have the opportunity to voluntarily do so, and face the white throne judgement of God, rather than the grace and mercy that God extents to you now.
A Qualifying Question
Let’s ask a question: Am I properly reflecting the holiness of God in word and in deed?
A short prayer of preparation:
Father in Heaven, You call out to us day and night, and woo us to You with your kindness, compassion, grace and mercy. Help me to turn from all of my wicked ways so that I would instead embrace Your holiness and righteousness. Grant me the ability to desire with my whole heart to honor and glorify Your name. And help me to submit myself to Your Holy Spirit, that in the same way that Christ yielded Himself to You, that I would yield myself to You as well. Forgive me of my sin, and be Lord of my life, for You are perfect, and everything that You do is right. You know what must need to be done, and I pray that You would give my every thought, word, and deed in Your righteousness, for You and You alone deserve all of the glory and honor that comes from what You do through me. This I ask in Jesus’ Precious and Holy Name, Amen.