Summary: As ministers of the LORD, let us follow in the example of Levi, which leads to blessing, and not in the example of the Priests addressed in Malachi, which leads to cursing.
An 'Offal' Way of Service
Text: Malachi 2:1-9
Young Guns for the Lord 2008 Conference
Rock Tabernacle - Griffin, GA
By Sterling C. Franklin
Proposition: We should follow in Levi's blessed way of service.
Organizational Sentence (Interrogatives: How & Why?): As ministers of the LORD, let us follow in the example of Levi, which leads to blessing, and not in the example of the Priests addressed in Malachi, which leads to cursing.
Malachi is structured around 6 Disputations, each beginning with an interrogative plea to the people addressed (the priests). Malachi 1:6 through 2:9 is a disputation about honor and respect. A son honors his father, and a servant respects his master, but the priests addressed in Malachi brought contempt to their Father and Master, as opposed to the utter Glory due His Name!
As believers, we are all part of the ‘Priesthood of Saints.’ We offer our lives as living sacrifices before God (Romans 12:1). We are like living stones, being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ (1 Peter 2:5). Indeed, we are a royal priesthood, a chosen generation, a peculiar people (and some more peculiar than others) that must show forth the praises of the One who called us out of darkness into His marvelous light (1 Peter 2:9). Our lives can either be fragrant before God or a stench before God.
So Malachi 2 addressing the priests should not put us off to the point of us figuring that the text is irrelevant to us. If we believe in Christ, we are His servants. If we have not yet believed in Christ, we ought to move toward being His servants!
So in totality, let’s read the Second Disputation in Malachi, found in Malachi 1:6-2:9.
Scripture Reading (Malachi 1:6-2:9)
Malachi 1:6-14 6 "A son honors his father, and a servant his master. If I am a father, where is the honor due me? If I am a master, where is the respect due me?" says the LORD Almighty. "It is you, O priests, who show contempt for my name. "But you ask, 'How have we shown contempt for your name?' 7 "You place defiled food on my altar. "But you ask, 'How have we defiled you?' "By saying that the LORD's table is contemptible. 8 When you bring blind animals for sacrifice, is that not wrong? When you sacrifice crippled or diseased animals, is that not wrong? Try offering them to your governor! Would he be pleased with you? Would he accept you?" says the LORD Almighty. 9 "Now implore God to be gracious to us. With such offerings from your hands, will he accept you?"-- says the LORD Almighty. 10 "Oh, that one of you would shut the temple doors, so that you would not light useless fires on my altar! I am not pleased with you," says the LORD Almighty, "and I will accept no offering from your hands. 11 My name will be great among the nations, from the rising to the setting of the sun. In every place incense and pure offerings will be brought to my name, because my name will be great among the nations," says the LORD Almighty. 12 "But you profane it by saying of the Lord's table, 'It is defiled,' and of its food, 'It is contemptible.' 13 And you say, 'What a burden!' and you sniff at it contemptuously," says the LORD Almighty. "When you bring injured, crippled or diseased animals and offer them as sacrifices, should I accept them from your hands?" says the LORD. 14 "Cursed is the cheat who has an acceptable male in his flock and vows to give it, but then sacrifices a blemished animal to the Lord. For I am a great king," says the LORD Almighty, "and my name is to be feared among the nations.
Malachi 2:1-9 "And now this admonition is for you, O priests. 2 If you do not listen, and if you do not set your heart to honor my name," says the LORD Almighty, "I will send a curse upon you, and I will curse your blessings. Yes, I have already cursed them, because you have not set your heart to honor me. 3 "Because of you I will rebuke your descendants; I will spread on your faces the offal from your festival sacrifices, and you will be carried off with it. 4 And you will know that I have sent you this admonition 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, and from his mouth men should seek instruction-- because he is the messenger of the LORD Almighty. 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."