|Posted by Lorraine Serra on June 4, 2010 at 12:03 PM|
Corrupt priests is the issue the Lord is about to deal with in this chapter of Malachi. Before even looking into the background of this chapter and its historical references, let’s just take a minute to consider, “Who is a priest and what are his duties?”
In my own experience, a priest is the man who is the pastor, teacher, leader of a group of worshippers. He is charged with caring for the congregation, in spiritual matters, expounding on the truth of God’s word, officiating at worship services, weddings and funerals, and providing counsel and comfort in everyday circumstances: marriage counseling, mentoring youth, mediating conflicts, praying with people about decisions, visiting the sick and comforting those who mourn.
It could be said that anyone who dedicates his life to this kind of work is indeed one who possesses a ‘servant’s heart’. Genuine care of a congregation would require this, not to mention a vibrant and evident personal prayer and study life to stay connected to the Wisdom of God for effective leadership.
However, we have witnessed the debasing and ridicule of this noble calling when men of God have fallen into disrepute, succumbing to the temptations of greed, sex, power and fame. We’ve seen it on a national level through TV evangelists and we see it on a local level as well, maybe in our own churches.
The attraction of power, fame, reputation, and a desire to ‘leave your mark’ is huge. How many so-called humble servant pastors are focused on money, membership, larger buildings, more programs, etc? I’m not saying that growth is evil, but the heart’s motivation must be constantly examined, confronted, and re-directed to identify whether or not elevating the Lord’s Name and His Will is paramount.
Might I say, the same goes for all of us who sit in the pews. Rationalizing personal agendas under the guise of godly service is so easy to do. Oh, that God continues to convict our hearts to be sincere before Him!! Remove the veil from our own eyes, dear Lord, that we may see into our hearts even as You see what really lies there !
So, here in Malachi, at the beginning of Chapter 2, the Lord continues His rebuke of the priests who have partnered with the worshippers in offering contemptible sacrifices, those which were weak, blind, and diseased. Certainly not the pure and unblemished gifts one should offer the Almighty.
The Lord here is cursing the priests who have failed to correct the people they are responsible to instruct, lead and admonish. Holy cow! Here begins, at verse 2, a litany of consequences for failing to keep the high covenant of the priesthood: their descendants will also pay for their insincerity, He’s going to throw “pie in their eye”, only the refuse he’s planning to fling is leftover, nasty, remains of the sacrificed animals, and He will refuse any of their future offerings.
Leaders, He is speaking to us, too. The personal conduct of God’s chosen leaders and the example of their ministry will either cause God to be received and glorified, or rejected and disregarded!
And the result is a matter of life and death! Those who will not be reached, and taught the laws of love, forgiveness, justice and the grace of Jesus, can never live in peace or receive eternity with Christ! This is critical. Every person’s walk with Jesus must be an example of abundant life in Christ, attracting others to want to know Him so they might be saved.
So, when you are on your job, with your family, in a restaurant, conducting a Bible study, leading singing, waiting for your car to be serviced, checking out at the market, driving through McDonald’s, whatever, whenever, with whomever, you and I are sealed by the Spirit to walk in His covenant of love and share the good news of Christ’s free gift of salvation. Be a blessing! Be a believer all the time.
The Lord gave me a new slogan this morning, “Glow and Flow”. I don’t know why, this popped into my head as I was praying. So, I’ll share what it means to me..
Stay immersed in His word, and in conversation with Jesus through prayer, so that you may “Glow” with His love and more easily show hospitality and graciousness to others. Doing this, you will stay in perfect peace as His word promises, and “Flow” through life attracting others to what keeps you calm, equipped for life’s challenges without panic and anxiety.
I know. It sounds good, but it’s hard to do. Remember, it is in God’s strength and by His Holy Spirit that we can accomplish these things. 2 Corinthians 12:9 “My strength is made perfect in weakness” KJV Weak though we may be, discipline and God’s strength equips us for every good thing. Phil 2:13 “For it is God working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases Him.” New Living Translation
Let’s be aware of pleasing Him in all things, and entreat His strength and equipping.
Next time we’ll explore the priesthood of Levi back in the day! No wonder God was angry enough to curse these guys!
Categories: MALACHI Study