Summary: Every Christ follower is a priest who must fear God and listen to Him
Twice last month, drivers using their Apple Maps app on their iPhones ended up driving right across the runway at the Fairbanks, Alaska International Airport. Apparently there was a glitch in the app which directed drivers to “Taxiway B”. Although the directions didn’t specifically tell the drivers to cross the runway, once they got to that taxiway and could see the terminal on the other side of the runway they just drove across the runway to get to the terminal.
Apparently those two drivers trusted their Apple Maps more than the multiple signs and the motion-activated gate that they had to ignore in order to reach their destination. Fortunately, no one was injured, but you can imagine the potential problems with a car driving across a runway used by large commercial jets. And of course, Apple rushed to fix the problem. Earlier this week, just for the fun of it, I plugged the Fairbanks Airport into my map app on my iPhone and got a message that directions to that location are “not available”.
Now there are a couple of lessons we need to learn from these incidents. First, if you have an iPhone and you are using the map app, you might want to actually look up once in a while and make sure the directions aren’t leading you across a runway, or perhaps over a cliff.
But there is also a spiritual lesson to be learned here. All of us are potentially somebody’s “spiritual map app”. There are other people who are looking to us for some kind of spiritual direction and we need to make sure that we don’t lead them along the wrong route. That’s the idea behind the passage in Malachi that we’ll be looking at this morning.
But before we get to that passage, I want to remind all of us of the main theme of the entire book of Malachi. See if you can help fill in the blanks:
God desires for me to pursue Him
in the same way He has pursued me
As we continue in our journey through the book of Malachi this morning, we need to remember that it is God’s pursuing love for us that motivates Malachi to share some difficult, but necessary truth with the people of Israel, and with us. With that in mind, go ahead and open your Bibles to Malachi chapter 2 and follow along as I read beginning in verse 1:
“And now, O priests, this command is for you.
(Malachi 2:1 ESV)
Let me pause for a moment here before we go any further. One of my greatest fears this morning is that some of you are going to just tune out right here because this section of Malachi is addressed to the priests and you’ll automatically assume that it really doesn’t apply to you. But before you do that you might want to consider these relevant New Testament passages:
As you come to him, a living stone rejected by men but in the sight of God chosen and precious, you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ… But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.
(1 Peter 2:4-5, 9 ESV)
…To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood and made us a kingdom, priests to his God and Father, to him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.
(Revelation 1:5-6 ESV)
As the writer of Hebrews explains in some detail, the sacrificial system carried out by the Old Testament priests no longer is needed because of the sacrifice of our great high priest, Jesus. However, the function that the priests fulfilled as God’s representatives here on earth has been passed to those who are followers of Jesus. We serve as priests who have been given the task of proclaiming the gospel of Jesus, who has called us out of darkness into marvelous light. So if you’ve committed your life to Jesus, you are a priest and therefore what Malachi writes here is relevant for your life.
So with that in mind, let’s continue reading our passage:
If you will not listen, if you will not take it to heart to give honor to my name, says the LORD of hosts, then I will send the curse upon you and I will curse your blessings. Indeed, I have already cursed them, because you do not lay it to heart. Behold, I will rebuke your offspring, and spread dung on your faces, the dung of your offerings, and you shall be taken away with it. So shall you know that I have sent this command to you, that my covenant with Levi may stand, says the LORD of hosts. My covenant with him was one of life and peace, and I gave them to him. It was a covenant of fear, and he feared me. He stood in awe of my name. True instruction was in his mouth, and no wrong was found on his lips. He walked with me in peace and uprightness, and he turned many from iniquity. For the lips of a priest should guard knowledge, and people should seek instruction from his mouth, for he is the messenger of the LORD of hosts. But you have turned aside from the way. You have caused many to stumble by your instruction. You have corrupted the covenant of Levi, says the LORD of hosts, and so I make you despised and abased before all the people, inasmuch as you do not keep my ways but show partiality in your instruction.”