Malachi 2:1–9 (ESV): The Lord Rebukes the Priests
2 “And now, O priests, this command is for you. 2 If you will not listen, if you will not take it to heart to give honor to my name, says the Lord of hosts, then I will send the curse upon you and I will curse your blessings. Indeed, I have already cursed them, because you do not lay it to heart. 3 Behold, I will rebuke your offspring, and spread dung on your faces, the dung of your offerings, and you shall be taken away with it. 4 So shall you know that I have sent this command to you, that my covenant with Levi may stand, says the Lord of hosts. 5 My covenant with him was one of life and peace, and I gave them to him. It was a covenant of fear, and he feared me. He stood in awe of my name. 6 True instruction was in his mouth, and no wrong was found on his lips. He walked with me in peace and uprightness, and he turned many from iniquity. 7 For the lips of a priest should guard knowledge, and people should seek instruction from his mouth, for he is the messenger of the Lord of hosts. 8 But you have turned aside from the way. You have caused many to stumble by your instruction. You have corrupted the covenant of Levi, says the Lord of hosts, 9 and so I make you despised and abased before all the people, inasmuch as you do not keep my ways but show partiality in your instruction.”
These verses leave us with a taste of refuse in our mouths. Literally.
You speak of curses.
You speak of spreading dung on faces.
You speak of cursing offspring.
All because they have failed to honor you.
In our human world, we see this behavior as that of an egotistical maniac who has a pompous overinflated view of oneself.
But with You, the perfect creator of all the world…we see it very very differently.
You are a good and majestic, gloriously beautiful God! There is no greater good, no higher delight, no deeper satisfaction than you!
Being a good God, you are compelled by your nature to give to us the very best that there is.
The very best that there is…..IS YOU.
Our refusal to honor you, glorify you, to be satisfied in you, is actually to our harm and failure.
This opposes your nature and you are compelled to correct it.
How do you correct it? You curse; you spread the feces of our inferior offerings, of our inferior delights in our faces that we might be appalled, ashamed, and sickened by the lesser things we have turned to for the satisfaction of our souls.
You curse. You spread the dung of our offerings upon our faces SO THAT we would return to you. That we might stand in awe of you once again. That we might honor and glorify you, recognizing the worth and the beauty of your name!
The cursing, the foul spreading of dung is an act of grace to reveal the utter filth of our actions in order that we might be drawn back the glories found in you.
Abba, this is the point of the priests instruction. This is the point of all biblical teaching and instruction. To reveal YOUR glorious worth and beauty and so fill our hearts with awe and wonder that the offerings of dung we bring are revealed for what they truly are…dung! Compared to you, nothing we have offer can compare!
What a high and holy task this is…this teaching and instruction that would lead people to see, to understand, and to be enthralled with the glories of your name! That they might be drawn back to you, forsaking their own inferior gifts and come with clean hearts before you.
Abba, it always comes back to your glory and honor. Because that is the highest and greatest good in all existence. It was the very reason for which we were created…to see, know, and be satisfied in Your glory. Oh that we might forsake the offerings of dung we bring with hearts corrupt and instead return with fear, awe, and wonder to worship and humbly submit ourselves to the greatest good in all existence….You.
Protect our hearts and minds from all else and may we be gripped by wonder for you.
We love you Abba,