Disobedience of the Priests

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Malachi 1:6-14, Psalm 87:1-7, Ezekiel 36:16-23

When my daughter was first learning about sharing with other people, she used to say the funniest things. She would say, “I AM sharing. Sharing with ME.”

We’d laugh it off, and thankfully as she’s grown she has become an incredibly kind, encouraging, and giving person, willing to share with whomever is around. But when she was little, those feeble attempts at “sharing” were empty gestures. She wasn’t really sharing; she was just saying the words.

In the second disputation in Malachi, we see the Lord call out the Israelite priests for the same type of behavior. They were sacrificing, yes, but they were sacrificing blind and lame animals. Some animals were stolen, and some were sick. Not only were the priests violating the Mosaic covenant (Leviticus 22:18–25), but they dismissed the Lord’s accusations.

The Lord is righteously angry with the priests. The system of sacrifice He had established to make a way for unclean people to be clean was breaking down. The priests disregarded the law, made nonchalant offerings, and then claimed, “What a nuisance!”

The priests weren’t really sacrificing. They were going through the motions, but not experiencing the fullness of what the Lord had intended for them. They took His name and presence for granted. Contextually, it’s hard to imagine. The people of Israel had already been exiled for this exact behavior: ignoring the Lord, following other gods, not taking His name seriously. But the Lord had restored them. They were home. And yet, again, they were falling back into the same sinful patterns.

The book of Malachi is unique, a set of prophecies written after the return to Israel. But its warnings feel deeply personal to me. Am I really living in the fullness of what the Lord intended? Do I go through the motions without feeling the cost of following Him? Am I taking His goodness, presence, and mercy for granted?

I love how the sharply-wielded critique of a thousands-year-old prophet can cut me down to my knees. It’s the power of Scripture, the words of the holy Lord of Armies, reminding me that He alone is God, and His name will be feared among the nations. I’m thankful for that promise, and the reminder that the center of my universe is not me and my sad attempts at sacrifice, but rather the God who made it all.

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28 thoughts on "Disobedience of the Priests"

  1. Elder Muggren Murphy says:

    Elder Muggren Murphy I been knowing this by studying and talking with the Holy Ghost I learned that many really don’t know the only true living God I see how the Devil will deceive the world that’s not focusing on the real God there’s no other Amen.

  2. Jackline Said says:

    After reading this passage & devotion it is quite easy to reflect on these questions:
    1. Am I bringing shame to the name of God?
    2. Am I serving left overs to a holy God?
    3. Am I going through the same motions or loops of sacrifice / repentance?
    4. Am I living in fullness of what the Lord is intending for me?
    5. Am I taking his grace and mercy for granted?

    For a second there, just trying to answer this questions we are left feeling like failures… but do not be startled, at any given point in your life, it is probable that your answers to these questions will almost always be a big YES! But remember it is by grace you have been saved. So no one would boast about their actions. These questions are not for self condemnation; Jesus himself does not condemn you. “I do not condemn you. GO & sin no more” says the Lord in John 8:11. Rather, this is an opportunity for a deeper prayer and an invitation for a deeper dive at where you can better glorify God. So instead of self-shaming or feeling inadequate, call on the name of the Lord and ask for a heart & mind that continues (despite every occurring failure) to seek Jesus & his kingdom.

    Peace be with you.

  3. Rachel Kelley says:

    This was a convicting reading and devotional message. Am I truly giving God my best in everything—money, service, and daily living? I’d like to say yes but, honestly, know there is plenty of room for improvement.

  4. Kylie Ho says:

    “It is not for your own sake that I’m about to do what I will do, but for the sake of my holy Name.”

    May the Lord bind our ever wandering heart and make it one, for Himself.

  5. Jessica Marsee says:

    This one hit me in the face! I thought of it like this: Am I giving God my first fruits or my leftovers? Am I spending regular time with Him or just what’s leftover, if there is time leftover? Am I tithing regularly or just giving him what’s leftover?

  6. Carmela says:

    Social Media- Man!!! this one thing is controlling my life. It creates the perfect excuse in my head as to why i should push back the time i should be studying the word of God, when instead i should be decreasing the amount of time I spend on Instagram. I am not going to bash it completely because i have received great words of faith trough some posts, but all around i could be getting those words of faith from reading the Word.

  7. Natasha R says:

    Today’s study reminds me not to take God’s goodness and mercy for granted. After all, our salvation came at a very high price.

  8. Terri says:

    You don’t leave the house without brushing your teeth. You don’t leave without makeup. Etc…. Don’t leave the house without putting God FIRST. As in first thing in the morning! After going to bathroom and getting coffee of course for me! Few of us I believe are able to spontaneously talk with God throughout the day yet. Therefore it must be scheduled like a coffee date with friend. We make time for what is important to us. And a lot of time for somethings. How important is God to you?

  9. Clare says:

    Churchmouse – absolutely, I am so challenged about the time I spend scrolling social media and my bible reading gets pushed back because I am so ‘busy’. It is indeed contemptuous. I need to seriously rethink what it looks like to not defile God.

  10. Ashley White says:

    This was so good and a great reminder for me.

  11. NanaK says:

    Melanie poses some truly tough, but necessary questions in response to our reading today:
    “Am I really living in the fullness of what the LORD intended?”
    “Do I go through the motions without feeling the cost of following HIM?”
    “Am I taking for HIS goodness, presence, and mercy for granted?”

    LORD, please help me to truly see YOUR will and direction for my life. I pray that as I go through this (and every) day, I will seek You fully, regardless of the cost, and I thank you FATHER, for your never-ending presence, goodness, and mercy in my life. Forgive me, when I take Your presence in my life for granted.

    ABBA, my heart is breaking today for our bothers and sisters in the Bahamas. Please wrap your arms around them and give them comfort during this devastating time. Father, please be with all the Disaster Relief efforts and protect those whom are seeking to be Your hands and feet to those in need. Go before them LORD, and soften the hearts of those grieving and hurting, that they may not grow bitter towards You, but reach out to You for comfort.

    Father, I ask for your continued protection for others as this devastating hurricane continues to move up the east coast. I pray for all who are in it’s potential path today. Even through the literal storms of life, Lord, I praise You for loving us and caring for every hair on every head.

    I love you Abba, Father. AMEN

  12. Maura says:

    Our God gave his son. This most precious gift for us. And He asks for our best. God help us as we give to remember who you are. Our Provider, Creator, Saviour, Redeemer, Abba, King of Kings, Jehovah, Prince of Peace, Almighty. May we give as you have given with love and grace and may it bless others and give you glory mighty God.

  13. Debbie May says:


  14. Karen Lockwood says:

    Amen, Churchmouse!!

  15. Pamela PennFite says:

    I believe the gospel message is encompassed in the concept of sowing and reaping. God gave Himself and he expects us to give ourselves. Then He reaps obedient children who also give to Him. I believe maturing as Christians involves learning to truly give back to Him. Like these priests we give on the surface or give what is left over. Jesus called it bearing fruit in John 15-truly giving our life just like He did. I am challenged daily to love other people sacrificially and give myself, my time, my effort, and my money so others experience the love of God through me. As I truly do this I reap so much goodness from Him. This devotional today reminds me not to give my crumbs or my left over broken stuff but my best.

  16. Aimee D says:

    His Word truly is living and breathing

  17. Angie says:

    What is the purpose of my life today?
    I am a vessel, the encasing of the Holy Spirit.
    Broken and leaking, healed and chosen.
    A royal priesthood.
    Daily living a sacrifice.
    At my best an example of the hospitality of God and the joy of relationship and love.
    At my worst, too busy, blind, and defective.
    Yet, still He choses me.
    Still I am called his own.
    Not because of me, but because of Jesus.
    The pure and holy sacrifice was given.
    He, Jesus, is worthy.
    He, Jesus, is the sacrifice covering all of me.
    Hour by hour, minute by minute, moment by moment, breath by breath…
    May I offer with my life,
    the life You have given Father
    what honors and glorifies your Name.
    Stone by stone
    may my life be an altar of praise to You.

  18. Joanne Adams says:

    I agree with Shawn. I am always amazed at how relevant scripture can be in the present time. The priests were not fully committed to God through the poor participation in sacrifice. Sometimes I do not fully participate in prayer or worship because I get distracted. This is a good reminder for me to continue to pursue Him in all that I do…

    1. Elaine Morgan says:


  19. Shawn Parks says:

    I am humbled by the truth of God’s Word. I commit to seeking God through His Word and in prayer before even putting my feet on the floor. I am conscious of my need for Him and feebly attempt to put Him first, but in no time at all in the course of my day my mind is cluttered with the distractions of this world. Suddenly, my conscience will be pricked and I will realize that hours have passed since I acknowledged my need for my God or since I have sought His counsel or expressed my gratitude for Him. How like the priests is my worship and my witness. Yet God continuously meets me where I am and draws me back to His side like the wayward sheep that I am. He relentlessly seeks me and finds me, and I hear His voice and return to Him my Lord and my Shepherd. Let my regret and shame be transformed by the loving mercy and grace of God into righteousness and joy and let my gratitude for my Father who lovingly and patiently redirects my heart spill over in abundance and flood my words and actions!

    1. Shasta Moczulski says:


  20. Tricia C says:

    Amen and Amen.
    May the words I say and the things I do be pleasing to You, oh Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.

    1. Nancy Hubbard says:

      Amen! I find that to be the challenge everyday…

  21. Churchmouse says:

    Habits are hard to break. The Israelites had years of cycles of disobedience,judgment, repentance, deliverance, complacency, disobedience, repentance, judgment, repentance, deliverance, complacency – and round and round it went. How to break this cycle? What kind of wake up call would it take? What does commitment and faithfulness to a holy God look like? And how does it become a habit? Fortunately we have a holy God who is not distant. He longs for intimacy and so He speaks. His Word woos. We are drawn to it when we are troubled, when the tough times come. We cling to it as the lifeline it is. Ah, but when the good times roll, we let our guard down. We forget there is an enemy just around the corner, biding his time. As we play, he plots. As we ponder, he pounces. We ignore our lifeline at our peril. We forget its warnings. We forget its power. And so the Israelites’ cycle becomes our own. Sigh. Let us daily don the armor of God. Let us wield the sword of the Spirit regardless of the season we are in. Let us draw on the power of God’s promises. Let us open the Word before we open social media. Let us break our cycle. After all, His body was broken for us.

    1. Gina Glennon says:

      Oh yed! Amen!

    2. Lisa Holland says:


    3. Christine Smith says:

      So convicting!

    4. Colleen Bunker says:

      This is so true in my life! I’m thankful for our good God who welcomes us back time and time again with open arms.