Summary: In chapter one Malachi addressed God’s love for His people. In verses 6-14 of chapter one the priests and the people are charged with cheating. In this chapter the unfaithfulness of the priests is addressed.
In chapter one Malachi addressed the subject of God’s compassion for Israel verses 1-5. In verses 6-14 the priests and the people are charged with cheating, offering defective animals for sacrifices. In this chapter the unfaithfulness of the priests, the violation of the ordinance of marriage, impiety, impenitence, and the profaning of the Lord’s name
are addressed. The source of the profaning of the Lord’s name and violating His commands and statues is the priests.
They were not performing their duties as teachers and expositors of the law and commandments of the Lord.
The responsibility of the priests remains in the hands of pastors and teachers in the church today. If the priests would have fulfilled their teaching responsibilities, if they would have rejected the defective offers, no complaint would have been filed by the Lord.
Those who pastor are under the authority of the senior pastor, Jesus Christ. Those who teach in the church are under the authority of the greatest teacher that has ever or will ever walk on the face of this earth, Jesus Christ. When pastors and teachers follow the example set by the priests the Lord has filed a charge of failing to perform their duties against and delivered by Malachi the Lord Jesus Christ will file a charge against them in the Lord’s heavenly court.
In the previous chapter the attention getter was “thus says the Lord of hosts.” What the word of the Lord spoke to Malachi was and can be applied to both the priests and the people. Now the emphasis is placed on the priests.
Verse one and two - “And now this commandment is for you, O priests. If you do not listen, and if you do 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 cursed them already, because your are not taking it to heart.’”
If the priests do not pay attention to what Malachi has to say to them and honor the name of the Lord of hosts He will send the curse upon them (Deuteronomy 27:15-26; 28:15-68). The inescapable result of breaking the covenant was the imposing of the curses that are spelled out in the covenant texts (Leviticus 26:14-39; Deuteronomy 27:11-26; 28:15-57).
Verse three - “Behold, I am going to rebuke your offspring, and I will spread refuse on your faces, the refuse of your feasts; and you will be taken away with it.”
Part of the curse the Lord will send upon the priests involve their offspring. They will be removed from the
priesthood. The portions of the ox or sheep given for sacrifices that was to be given to the priests was the shoulder, the two cheeks, and the maw (the stomach). If the priests didn’t stop their profaning of the Lord of hosts name they will be given the contents of the stomach which was to been thrown away. The intent here is to show the priests if they didn’t stop their profaning of the Lord’s name they will be cast out as the contents of the stomach of the sacrifice was to be thrown away. They will be rendered unclean, by this act and would no longer be able to function in their office.
Verse four - “Then you will know that I have sent this commandment to you, that My covenant may continue with
Levi, ‘says the Lord of hosts.’”
The intent of the warning of the curse was to convince the priests they must turn from their evil ways and evil deeds and return to the Lord so that the covenant with Levi could continue.
Verse five - “My covenant with him was one of life and peace, and I gave them to him as an object of reverence; so he revered Me and stood in awe of My name.”
This is called a covenant of life and peace because it was intended for the support of religion, which brings life and peace to the souls of men and peace to the distressed, or because life and peace were by this covenant promised to those priests that faithfully and conscientiously discharged their duty. What is here said of the covenant of priesthood is true of the covenant of grace made with all believers, as spiritual priests; it is a covenant of life and peace; it assures all believers of life and peace, everlasting peace, everlasting life, all happiness both in this world and in that to come.
This covenant was made with the whole tribe of Levi when they were distinguished from the rest of the tribes, were not numbered with them, but were taken from among them and appointed over the “tabernacle of testimony (Numbers 1:49-50). By virtue of this appointment the Lord says, “I have taken the Levites from among the sons of Israel instead of every first-born, the first issue of the womb among the sons of Israel. So the Levites shall be Mine (Numbers 3:12). This covenant was made with Aaron when he and his sons were taken to “minister as priest to” the Lord (Exodus 28:1). In Psalm 106:16, Aaron is called, “the saint of the Lord.”