Unacceptable Teaching and Living

Malachi Two      


            Many seem to think that God's commandments are for someone else. God wanted the priests to specifically understand that His commandments were for them. These men were to both obey and teach the commandments of the Lord. God promised that a curse would be sent upon the disobedient. A failure to take heed to the word of God always ends in disaster. Worthless sacrifices and sinful hearts never lead to life and peace. Levi (not the man Levi but the faithful Levite priests) was a wonderful example to the Jews and to all men. In Malachi 2:6 we read, "The law of truth was in his mouth, and iniquity was not found in his lips: he walked with me in peace and equity, and did turn many away from iniquity." When preachers turn from God's truth, either in their teaching or in their lives they, "cause many to stumble at the law" of God.

Serious charges were raised by Malachi against both the priest and the people. They had shown partiality in dealing with the law. "Therefore have I also made you contemptible and base before all the people, according as ye have not kept my ways, but have been partial in the law." (Malachi 2:9) It was a disgusting and horrible thing for these religious leaders to try to be ministers without God's presence or power. Scores of people today disregard God's holy institute, the church. Disregard for God's way has caused many to say that one church is as good as another. Sadly some are awake and aware to the fact that their teaching is false and their life is corrupt. Yet, they do not come back to God.

Jewish men had broken their covenant with God and with the wives of their youth. The wives of these Jews covered God's altars with their tears because they had been put away by their husbands. These men were corrupt. They caused the tears and grief of the wives to come up before God instead of true sacrifices. These men divorced their wives to marry the daughters of idol worshippers. God hates divorce, especially this divorce that could potentially destroy the Jewish nation through whom the Messiah was to come. These Jews wearied God with their words without proper actions. These lying people said that God loved them and was pleased with them when there was only talk in their lives and no spiritual action. They claimed to be godly but there was no daily righteousness.

This commandment is for you - Malachi 2:1-6: The priests must accept and respect God's commandments. These teachings applied to them just as they applied to the people. The priests had not done well in their teachings or in their lives. Their problem was serious, spiritual heart trouble. They did not take God's teaching to heart. They did not even seem to think that it applied to them. Let us understand that we give glory to God by taking heed to His commandments. The disobedience of the priest would have a direct, destructive effect upon their descendants. Let us never forget that what we believe and do will largely determine whether our descendants go to heaven or hell. Many of the early Levites who served as priests were faithful to God. "God called the tribe of Levi to service, gave them the wonderful blessings of ministry, but laid out their obligations in this arrangement, and then sealed it with the ordination sacrifice in Leviticus 8. That is what is meant by the covenant of Levi -- it is the ministry of the priests." Proper response to God's commandments is essential if heaven is our goal.

They departed from God's way - Malachi 2:7-12: The priests of Malachi's day talked a very religious talk but they did not obey God. The priest should have been faithful to God. They represented Him before the people and they were His messengers. God's word should have been in their mouths and they should have taught the people to do right. Both by a godly life and faithful teaching the priests were to be leaders for God. Sadly, the priests departed from God's way and caused many to stumble at His law. Israel was made a strong nation by one God and yet they broke His covenant. The Jews undermined their relationship with the one true God by putting away the wives of their youth and marrying to daughters of idol worshippers. These idol worshippers could easily turn the nation away from God. This was a sin against God and against their fellow Jews. They had broken the covenant of God. Their sin of divorcing the scriptural wives and marrying idol worshippers is called treachery. Their actions defiled the holiness of God. Malachi announced doom upon those who violated the covenant of God. He wrote, "The Lord will cut off the man that doeth this."

The pain caused by sin - Malachi 2:13-14: Malachi wrote, "And this have ye done again, covering the altar of the LORD with tears, with weeping, and with crying out, insomuch that he regardeth not the offering any more, or receiveth it with good will at your hand. Yet ye say, Wherefore? Because the LORD hath been witness between thee and the wife of thy youth, against whom thou hast dealt treacherously: yet is she thy companion, and the wife of thy covenant." (Malachi 2:13-14) The pain caused by their sin overshadowed any attempt that they made to worship God. Sadly, these Jewish men had put away their godly and scriptural wives to marry idol worshipping women. This was a violation of both their marriage covenant and their covenant with God. Such willful defiance brought grief to the heart of the Almighty. These Jewish men had no honor and no saving faith. The "put away" wives came before God with tears of grief and sorrow. The men came before God with sacrifice. God observed the sorrow caused by these men and not the sacrifice that they offered. In our day our actions can easily hinder our prayers. We must so live that our prayers will not be hindered. Peter wrote, "Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered." (l Peter 3:7)

Words alone weary the Lord - Malachi 2:15-17: God required a godly seed. Those who are married must nurture their marriage as a part of their relationship with God. God had all the resources of the Holy Spirit available as He made Adam and Eve as one flesh. Today God likewise creates one flesh when a man and a woman are scripturally married to one another. A godly couple must have strong commitment to one another and a strong commitment to training their children to serve God. In an even more vivid way God chose one nation through whom the godly seed would be sent to save the world. The action of these godless Jews was designed by Satan to destroy that "godly seed" by corrupting the nation. God hates divorce because it creates havoc in the home and in society. God especially hated these divorces because they were a part of Satan scheme to destroy the Savior, the "godly seed." These people said God approved of their lives because He had taken no action against them. Malachi told them that their words wearied God. These people really did not want God's judgment to come upon them as they seemed to be saying. They were in rebellion against God!

Those who serve God faithfully are blessed and those that rebel are punished. Is it your desire to honor God? If so it is time to become a Christian now! To become a Christian you must hear the gospel (Romans 10: 17), believe in Jesus (John 8:24), repent of sins (Acts 17:30), confess Christ as Lord (Acts 8:37, and be baptized to be saved. (1 Peter 3:21) After baptism follow Jesus in faithfulness as He leads you home to heaven. (Revelation 2: 1 0)