Malachi 2: 1-9, NIV
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; 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 is a prophetic warning to the priest that if they did not alter their behavior, the Lord would curse them and disgracefully remove them from their priestly service. During the time of Malachi’s stern warning, the priests were failing to honor God with their best sacrifices, as well as misleading the members of the congregation with erroneous teachings. The prophetic rebuke pronounced by Malachi is followed by a threat of punishment they would endure if they did not honor God’s name and take God’s words to heart. In Hebrew, the word “heart” “represents the place where knowledge is collected, and where decisions and plans are made that determine the direction of one’s life.” The writer David records in Psalm 51:10 “Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me” (KJV).
Malachi, verse 2 records, “Listen to me and make up your mind to honor my name.” As we observe the 40-day period of Lent we have an opportunity to “make up our mind to honor the Lord’s name.” The Lenten Season is an opportunity for us to honor God by giving our best sacrifices.
God uses Malachi, as the prophetic voice, to speak to the priests about one condition- “only if they changed the direction of their decisions, that He would show them mercy.” If they did not make the decisive change from their disobedience, He would plague them with trouble and block every artery of blessing by opening the floodgates of disaster in their lives. In the Lenten Season, God’s desire is for us who honor His name and give Him our best sacrifices. He desires to prove faithful in His covenant relationship with you. The promise to “never leave us, nor forsake us.”
To the unfaithful priests and the guilty members of the congregation, God promised that He would, “spread or scatter on their faces the dung, the feces from the animals of the festival sacrifices, and carry them off with it” (verse 3). This chastisement would rid the priests of their duties because they had treated the Lord with contempt and defiled His altar with their corrupt and useless sacrifices. This vivid imagery expresses both the degree of revulsion the Lord felt for the priests’ behavior and His attitude toward their hypocritical religious festivals.
This passage is a reminder of the consequences that could befall us when we fail to honor God with our sacrifices or in our walk with Him as we lead others. While the text was written primarily to the priests of that biblical era, there is a relevant impaction for its message in our lives. As Christian believers, we have a responsibility to uphold Godly standards, as a reflection of who God is in our lives with the hope that others will come to the realization and acknowledgment of who they can become, in Him. And take God’s word to heart. We must ensure that our words and living are honorable and bearing good fruit. We are to evidence meticulous care in our outward worship and live with integrity.
As we reflect on God’s love and mercy during this Lenten season, I can’t help but be grateful for the fact that Jesus took on our mess. Jesus allowed our “dung, our waste, and our sin to be smeared and scattered on Him. Jesus carried away our mess when we could have been carried away in contempt. But thanks be to God for His salvific act of sending His son to take away the curse. Jesus is the ultimate curse breaker. He took on the disgrace that we deserved, as an ultimate sacrifice for us. His ultimate act of love affords us the opportunity to never be separated from The Father and allows us to have eternal life with Him.
Heavenly Father, I thank you for sending your only begotten son, Jesus, to be the curse for us so that our sins could be forgiven. Jesus, I thank you for coming down from heaven with the intention to die and experience hell and separation that you did not deserve for our sake so that we would never be separated from The Father. We praise you for being our savior, the one who redeemed us from the curse of the law. Your redemptive love is so great that it carries us to the father when we should have been carried away in contempt.
Now God, I ask that you would help us to be more like your son. Help us to take on those characteristics of Christ so that our lives would honor you. Remind us in moments of weakness that the same power that raised Christ from the dead is at work in us. It is in the precious name of Jesus I pray, Amen.
Call to action:
As we continue the 40-day Lenten Season, this text is a gentle reminder that the Lord desires ‘all of our praise to Him.’ He expects us to honor Him, and “in all thy ways acknowledge Him.” (Proverbs 3:6). Commit yourself today to bringing honor to His name by thanking Him for who He is in your life.
Submitted by: Min. India McCleod