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The Scriptorium

The Duty of Priests

We are messengers of the Lord. Malachi 2.7-9

Return from Exile: Malachi 2 (3)

Pray Psalm 132.13-18.
For the LORD has chosen Zion;
He has desired it for His dwelling place:
“This is My resting place forever;
Here I will dwell, for I have desired it.
I will abundantly bless her provision;
I will satisfy her poor with bread.
I will also clothe her priests with salvation,
And her saints shall shout aloud for joy.
There I will make the horn of David grow;
I will prepare a lamp for My Anointed.
His enemies I will clothe with shame,
But upon Himself His crown shall flourish.”

Sing Psalm 132.13-18.
(Finlandia: Be Still, My Soul)
God dwells among us, and He will forever,
to meet our needs and clothe us with His grace.
He has to us sent Jesus Christ, our Savior—
beloved, eternal light and resting place.
His foes are banished from His Presence ever,
but we shall reign with Him before His face.

Read Malachi 2.1-9; meditate on verses 7-9.

1. What were priests supposed to do?

2. What were they doing instead?

Let’s begin by remembering that Peter said all believers are priests unto the Lord (1 Pet. 2.9). We have all been entrusted with the ministry of the Word of God and the duty of leading others into His Presence. So, what God says through Malachi here, He intends for each of us to receive.

All believers are messengers of the LORD of hosts (v. 8; cf. Acts 1.8). To equip us for this high and holy work, God has given us His Word (2 Tim. 3.16, 17). He intends us to read and study His Word so that we might know Jesus, be made more like Him (2 Cor. 3.12-18), and thus speak His truth in love (Eph. 4.15). All believers are expected to learn the Scriptures and to teach them to others (Heb. 5.12; Col. 3.16).

The priests in Malachi’s day had “departed” from “the way”—from the plain teaching of God’s Law (v. 8). Either they stopped reading and meditating as they should or they chose to ignore what the Law required. Consequently, they caused the people they served to stumble into sin and to violate God’s covenant. The LORD made the priests objects of scorn and contempt before the people (v. 9), who nevertheless kept going through the motions of religion with leaders they did not respect and in a manner unpleasing to the LORD.

We can’t pick-and-choose our way through Scripture (v. 9). All Scripture is inspired and profitable for us. But if we prefer captivity to the world rather than to Jesus (2 Cor. 10.3-5), we will compromise and corrupt the Word, even as we pretend to be honoring it.

Treasures Old and New: Matthew 13.52; Psalm 119.162
None of us wants to be caught out in a game of Charades, pretending to be someone other than who we are. We are God’s people, and we need to play the part convincingly. From the depths of our heart and soul.

“The righteous shall flourish like a palm tree, he shall grow like a cedar in Lebanon.
Those who are planted in the house of the LORD shall flourish in the courts of our God.
They shall still bear fruit in old age; they shall be fresh and flourishing,
to declare that the LORD is upright; He is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in Him” (Ps. 92.12-15).

“For none of us lives to himself, and no one dies to himself.
For if we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord.
Therefore, whether we live or die, we are the Lord’s.
For to this end Christ died and rose and lived again,
that He might be Lord of both the dead and the living.”
“Therefore let us not judge one another anymore,
but rather resolve this, not to put a stumbling block
or a cause to fall in our brother’s way” (Rom. 14.7-9, 13).

The Duty of Priests. Our duty. To live for Jesus and never give cause for offense; either to God or to others. “Therefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and rest your hope fully upon the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; as obedient children, not conforming yourselves to the former lusts, as in your ignorance; but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, because it is written, ‘Be holy, for I AM holy’” (1 Pet.1.13-16).

We dare not compromise and corrupt the Word; nor be a stumbling block or a cause for anyone to fall, by being charade Christians. We must truly honor the Lord God with our lives. It is our duty.

For reflection
1. As a priest of God, whom will you serve with His grace and truth today?

2. How would you counsel a new believer to start each day with the mindset of a priest and messenger of God?

3. Whom will you encourage in their “royal priesthood” today?

What is here said of the covenant of priesthood, is true of the covenant of grace made with all believers, as spiritual priests. It is a covenant of life and peace; it assures all believers of all happiness, both in this world and in that to come. It is an honor to God’s servants to be employed as his messengers. Matthew Henry (1662-1714), Commentary on Malachi 2.7-9

Pray Psalm 132.8-12.
Thank God for Jesus, our great High Priest, Who lives forever to intercede for us. Bring to Him all your priestly work for this day, seeking mercy and grace for your times of need.

Sing Psalm 132.8-12.
(Finlandia: Be Still, My Soul)
Arise, O LORD, come to Your resting place;
Your holy Presence meet with us in might.
Clothe us with righteousness in Jesus’ grace,
and we will shout to Your divine delight!
For David’s sake, turn not away Your face,
but look upon us in Your holy light.

Remember, LORD, the oath You swore to David;
do not turn back, do not deny Your Word:
“One of your sons, with your throne I will favor,
if he shall keep My cov’nant evermore,
and walk within My testimonies ever,
thus he shall ever rule by Israel’s LORD.”

T. M. and Susie Moore

Two books can help us understand our own captivity and lead us to seek revival and renewal in the Lord. The Church Captive asks us to consider the ways the Church today has become captive to the world. And Revived! can help us find the way to renewal. Learn more and order your free copies by clicking here and here.

Support for Scriptorium comes from our faithful and generous God, who moves our readers to share financially in our work. If this article was helpful, please give Him thanks and praise.

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Except as indicated, all Scriptures are taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. For sources of all quotations, see the weekly PDF of this study. All psalms for singing are from The Ailbe Psalteravailable free by clicking here.

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in the Champlain Valley of Vermont.
Books by T. M. Moore

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