Summary: God ought to be honored through our heart, words, and our body.This will be a testimony to the world of the glory of God.
Before he became president, Andrew Jackson was known for using violence in order to defend his honor. He survived 15 duels so that it was said that his body was so filled with lead that it "rattled like a bag of marbles."
Duels are no longer held today. But in the past, they were fairly normal. A duel was began when one man was insulted in some way by another. He had lost his honor with that insult whether it was by word or by action. Therefore, he would throw down his glove in front of the other man to indicate that he demanded a duel to restore his dignity. Each man would be given a pistol and agree to a certain amount of paces to walk after which they would turn around and fire. The loser would be either the one who had first blood or was killed.
This was practiced in America until about the late 1800’s but is now outlawed in many states. What was the reason for a duel? HONOR.
To many, honor is considered more important than life itself - the most important quality for a person to have. Life is not worth living if you don’t have respect, good reputation, a good name. It’s better to die than lose your honor.
Is honor really that important according to God? “My salvation and my honor depend on God;” Psa. 62:7. That is KEY. Our honor does not depend on the opinion of other people about us. If that was the case, then, most of the great men and women of the Bible will totally dishonorable including Jesus. Jesus died with the worst reputation and most dishonorable treatment of anyone. Talk about being insulted.
Our honor depends on God and what God thinks about us. If you mistreat others, if you rebel against God, if you curse his name, if you lie and deceive, you bring dishonor to yourself because you dishonor God. Dishonoring God IS serious! Honor is VERY important to God.
In Hebrew it’s the word “kavod” – literally it means to have weight. But then to honor someone means to put weight on someone else. It can be make someone rich for example. We add to the weight of GOD’S name. We make him important and above all in glory. How much weight does God have? INFINITE! We can never give him the full glory he deserves. But we’re going to learn at least how to start….
During the time of Malachi, the priests were taking away from God’s weight/glory and putting it on themselves. They were the ones getting glory and credit instead of God – in other words, they were robbing God of the praise he should have gotten. Now, that’s something that we never want to do – do not dishonor God because there are serious consequences for our soul. And it says in 2:2b “I will send the curse upon you and I will curse your blessings…”
No one wants to be cursed. But every single one of us faces a curse from God for what we have done. Why? Because we have all dishonored God in some way or another. “Cursed be everyone who does not abide by all things written in the Book of the Law, and do them.” (Gal. 3:10) We are doomed! But Paul continues to write three verses later: “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written: "Cursed is everyone who is hung on a tree."” (3:13)
Thanks to Jesus, we are freed from the curse, freed from our mistakes and failures. We are new and fresh before God! Therefore, we now can honor God as he ought to be honored – not to be saved, but to give our Lord and Savior all the praise he deserves because we love him.
Now, if we turn to Malachi 2:5-6 we find the same thing happening to the priests. Let’s read verse 5a: “My covenant with him was one of life and peace and I gave them to him.” They had a special covenant with God. He had saved them and chosen them out of all the nations of the world. They were God’s beloved and therefore they had a special relationship with Him.
What was the result? They honored God!
As we read further, we’re going to see that these people knew how to honor God. They knew how to heap weight on him. They knew how to honor God in a way that brought him the greatest praise. And that is the key for us too isn’t it? We need to know how to best honor God!
1. The first place God is honored in the heart. 2:5b: “It was a covenant of fear, and he feared me. He stood in awe of my name.”