God's Man | Bible in One Year pt 2...

Continuing our walk through Malachi...
Malachi 2
 1 “And now, you priests, this warning is for you. 2 If you do not listen, and if you do not resolve to honor my name,” says the LORD Almighty, “I will send a curse on you, and I will curse your blessings. Yes, I have already cursed them, because you have not resolved to honor me.
 3 “Because of you I will rebuke your descendants; I will smear on your faces the dung from your festival sacrifices, and you will be carried off with it. 4 And you will know that I have sent you this warning so that my covenant with Levi may continue,” says the LORD Almighty. 5 “My covenant was with him, a covenant of life and peace, and I gave them to him; this called for reverence and he revered me and stood in awe of my name. 6 True instruction was in his mouth and nothing false was found on his lips. He walked with me in peace and uprightness, and turned many from sin.
 7 “For the lips of a priest ought to preserve knowledge, because he is the messenger of the LORD Almighty and people seek instruction from his mouth. 8 But you have turned from the way and by your teaching have caused many to stumble; you have violated the covenant with Levi,” says the LORD Almighty. 9 “So I have caused you to be despised and humiliated before all the people, because you have not followed my ways but have shown partiality in matters of the law.”
This is a strong rebuke for those of us in ministry.  For me this is a reminder that whenever I teach the Word of God must be proclaimed.  This is not where we promote our personal opinions.  People need to hear the Word of God preached and as ministers we need to make that our priority when we speak.  There is also a rebuke here to examine our motives.  Are we honoring God in our sacrifices or are we putting on a show for people?  The former receives an eternal blessing, the latter... well read verse 3.  God reminds us to look at the covenant he made with Levi and how he revered God because of it.  I have spent a lot of time this year reading the words of the early church fathers.  They revered God and did not look at their calling to minister as an occupation.
 10 Do we not all have one Father? Did not one God create us? Why do we profane the covenant of our ancestors by being unfaithful to one another?
 11 Judah has been unfaithful. A detestable thing has been committed in Israel and in Jerusalem: Judah has desecrated the sanctuary the LORD loves by marrying women who worship a foreign god. 12 As for the man who does this, whoever he may be, may the LORD remove him from the tents of Jacob—even though he brings an offering to the LORD Almighty.
 13 Another thing you do: You flood the LORD’s altar with tears. You weep and wail because he no longer looks with favor on your offerings or accepts them with pleasure from your hands. 14 You ask, “Why?” It is because the LORD is the witness between you and the wife of your youth. You have been unfaithful to her, though she is your partner, the wife of your marriage covenant.
 15 Has not the one God made you? You belong to him in body and spirit. And what does the one God seek? Godly offspring. So be on your guard, and do not be unfaithful to the wife of your youth.
 16 “The man who hates and divorces his wife,” says the LORD, the God of Israel, “does violence to the one he should protect,” says the LORD Almighty.
   So be on your guard, and do not be unfaithful.
A couple of things here jump out at me from this year.  I read a article this week that snarkily (is that a word?) called 2010 the year of the Mistress.  I would rename it to the year of the Unfaithful Husband.  As men we are called to delight in the wives of our youths.  Not to sow our wild oats.  As I talk with young guys I share how important it is to keep themselves pure before marriage.  I tell the Husbands to guard their hearts and minds so they will not get caught up.  I tell young men and women alike to not assume anything when they are making decisions on whom they will marry.  Is he/she a Christian?  Do they know what that means?  For my queen and I keep Ephesians 5 in my heart as a guide on how to be the Husband God wants me to be and we want to teach our girls to expect the same.
 17 You have wearied the LORD with your words.    “How have we wearied him?” you ask.
       By saying, “All who do evil are good in the eyes of the LORD, and he is pleased with them” or “Where is the God of justice?”
Even though we do not see God's hand there is a reason that we are going through our present struggles.  It is to drive us closer to Him  There is a God of justice and we need to get to know Him when things look sideways.  Just ask Habakkuk

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