Day 16

Disobedience of the Priests

from the Zechariah and Malachi reading plan


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

BY Melanie Rainer

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.

Post Comments (27)

27 thoughts on "Disobedience of the Priests"

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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?

  4. 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.

  5. Ashley White says:

    This was so good and a great reminder for me.

  6. 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

  7. 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.

  8. Debbie May says:

    Amen.

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