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. – Mal. 2:2 NIV
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Today’s Devotional is a sequel to the Devotional titled “Do Not Present Blemished Offering”, where the Almighty God expressed his disappointment with the Israelites for not reciprocating His love for them, and instead, chose not just to question the genuineness of His love for them, but also went on to dis-honour Him by offering blemished sacrifices using animals that were injured, crippled or diseased, and He concluded that such acts will only attract curses from Him rather than the expected blessings that should follow such acts, had they being done according to His directives and standards – Mal. 1:2-14.
The prophet Malachi went on to reveal that, the punishment from Jehovah for his being dis-honoured by the people, with the presentation of such blemished animals for sacrifice, was not going to be for those presenting the blemished sacrifices only, but the Priests would have a share also, for accepting such animals on His behalf. They were already cursed and they will suffer shame and humiliation in the course of their service as Priests, because their decision to set their hearts to dis-honour Him has already brought curses on the people. He will be doing that because of His intention to remain faithful to the Covenant of life and peace, which He made with Levi, and which He intends to reverence since Levi all through his life revered Him and stood in awe of His name – Mal. 2:3-5. The Almighty God observed some characteristics with Levi which seemed to be missing in the life of the people operating in the office of the Priest during the time of Prophet Malachi and are listed as follows;
- There was true instructions coming out from the mouth of Levi – Mal. 2:6a. The instructions were true because they were based on proper interpretation of His laws and requirements. He would have been able to have true knowledge for him to disseminate true instructions, as the one who has not been properly indoctrinated will never be able to communicate true knowledge.
- Nothing false ever came out from the mouth of Levi – Mal. 2:6b. To communicate falsehood is to present what one knows not to be true as truth. His only consideration in all situations was what the position of the Lord was and not what he stood to benefit from it, the latter being the main reason why people generally put up with falsehood.
- Levi walked with the Lord in peace and uprightness – Mal. 2:6c. He had all his thoughts on how to achieve peace at all times and did not worship or seek the help and support of any other god, but Jehovah.
- Levi successfully turned many away from sin – Mal. 2:6d. With true knowledge, doctrine and effective guidance and counselling, he was able to steer the people from actions that will constitute transgression of the laws of Jehovah, thereby avoiding His wrath.
Hmmmmm. No wonder, Jehovah found him suitable to be bestowed the honour that was initially reserved for only the first male offspring of every Israelite woman – Num. 3:11-13. It was not just a gift, but was in recognition and appreciation of the manner in which he lived his life, in relation to Jehovah, and which has since become the standard which anyone who operates in the Priesthood, is expected to live up to. Obviously, the Priests of the time of Prophet Malachi did not meet up with this standard, but worse still, seemed not to care. They had failed, as people who are expected to be messengers of the Lord, in ensuring that their mouths preserved knowledge and so men no longer sought them out, when guidance on how to resolve life issues was required. Even the people that approached them at such times were taught and given instructions that led to their stumbling as they had turned away from the ways of the Lord and could no longer received divine instructions from Him – Mal. 2:7-8. In summary, because they deviated from His ways and became partial in the implementation of the law, Jehovah was left with no choice than to despise and humiliate them before the same people that should honour them – Mal. 2:9.
Today’s Priest who feels disrespected by the same people whom he is supposed to be representing before the Lord, need to do a honest assessment of his activities with the view to determining how much of such reaction from these people, is the result of admonition from the Lord, due to deviation from the standards set by Levi. It is impossible for an individual to receive honour in an office where Jehovah who is being represented, will be dis-honoured, not only by His supposed representatives, but also by those on whose behalf such is relating with Jehovah. The one who compromises the standard required of the office of the Priests, as listed above, will not only lose all claims to being so referred, but will also automatically come under the curse of Jehovah including being dis-honoured and humiliated.
A Priest of Jehovah, besides accepting divinely ordained items of offering that meet divine standards on behalf of Jehovah, should also be in a position to communicate the instructions of the Lord to the people, so as to make them aware and guide them away from acts of transgressions against the Lord. No wonder, the Apostle Paul recommends that the one who desires such positions must meet the requirement of being able to teach, as such will need to provide knowledge and guidance to the people – 1Tim. 3:2. The one who occupies this position and is not able to play this role should expect nothing but a cursed life, in addition to dishonour and humiliation, not because men want to do all that to him, but because Jehovah Himself has chosen to admonish him – Mal. 2:4. The one who is serving in this office and does not desire such a fate, must either shape into that role using the standards set by Levi, or ship out of that office. The implication of not doing any of these and still choosing to remain in the office will not only be negative for such a person, but also for everyone under such leadership, as they will not be able to act in accordance with divine standards, and so will likely find themselves under the curse of Jehovah – Mal. 1:14. No one will ever thrive under such conditions. May God continue to uphold His Priests and make them do the needful so that they and His people will avoid coming under His curse, and become dis-honoured and humiliated in Jesus name. Amen.