Monday, 29 March 2021
“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.” -Malachi 2:7[NIV]
Malachi was addressing Jews in Jerusalem, after rebuilding the temple. The ground reality was that they were gripped with complacency in worship. There was degeneration visible in their relationship with God. He was warning them against the careless way of living and neglecting God’s path.
The prophet here reprimands the priests in general—they were taught the Law and knew very well God’s requirements in worship. But the LORD found that the sacrifices offered was unworthy and their service insincere. Priests were gripped with arrogance and laziness. Instead of worshipping in reverential fear, they did so with a very casual attitude. As priests mediate between God and people, they should have been reflecting God’s attitude and character.
Neglecting one’s responsibility is an act of disobedience. He is looking for faithful and sincere leaders honouring His name (V.2). If the leaders go wrong, how can the people be guided? 1 Peter 2:9 reveals our position as a chosen generation and royal priest. God elevates a believer to this position through Christ Jesus. So as priests ordained by God, we cannot be insensitive, complacent and casual in our lifestyle and conversation. What image of God’s character will the people see in you?
Malachi 2: 7 says: “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.” That knowledge comes from the Law- God’s Word. The duty of the Levites was to pass on to the people the truth of the instructions they received from God. They were to live good and righteous lives and turn many from lives of sin (V6.) But here they had failed in that duty. Ignorance in this aspect is on account of willful disobedience and hence inexcusable.
Do our lives reflect this? If we have failed in this area, how can we direct the perishing souls around us to salvation? Ephesians 4: 29 [NLT] says: “Don’t use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them.”
A good man/woman brings good things out of the good stored up in his / her heart. For out of the overflow of the heart mouth speaks (Luke 6:45).
What is stored up in our hearts? Matthew 6:18 says “But the things that come out of the mouth come from the heart and these make a man unclean.” If you feel that you are in a similar state, let there be a cry arising from you like the cry of Isaiah: "For I am a man of unclean lips” (Isaiah 6:5). The following verses show the painful cleaning process Isaiah went through. Letting God purify us will be painful. But it is better to surrender to Him soon enough. Like Isaiah let’s be humble enough to say “Here I am.”
If we are convinced of our position as chosen of the Lord and His priests, let us commit ourselves to preserve His knowledge in us and be a source of edification to others.
Can we pray as the Psalmist did?
May the words of my mouth
and the meditation of my heart
be pleasing to You,
O LORD, my rock and my redeemer.
(Psalm 19:14 NLT)