The collapse of the nation of Israel was brought about because the priests refused to intervene.

They didn’t teach the people from The Book of the Law. Israel’s priests had been so busy worshiping pagan gods with the people that they hadn’t even paid attention to what the LORD expected.

“’A son honors his father, and a servant his master. If then I am a father, where is my honor? And if I am a master, where is my fear? says the Lord of hosts to you, O priests, who despise my name. But you say, ‘How have we despised your name?’” (Malachi 1:6 ESV).

In what ways were they dishonoring the Lord? What had they been doing wrong?

What does it mean to “honor” God? Strong’s #3519. כָּבוֹד kāḇôḏ, כָּבֹד kāḇōḏ: “A masculine singular noun meaning honor, glory, majesty, wealth. This term is commonly used of God.” 

How can we apply the meaning of the term for “honoring God?

“Turning from the people to the priests, Jehovah asks, whereas His love to the people was so great, where was their love towards Him? If the priests, as they profess, regard Him as their Father (Is 63:16) and Master, let them show the reality of their profession by love and reverential fear (Ex 20:12; Lu 6:46). He addresses the priests because they ought to be leaders in piety to the rest of the people, whereas they are foremost in “despising His name.”1

Imagine in your local church if the pastor and all the leaders despised God. How would that impact your church? We don’t talk much about reverential fear of the LORD, but our love and commitment to Him inspire us to respect and to exalt Him and His holy Name, for His kindness and love endure forever.

Imagine in your local church, if the pastor and all the leaders despised God. How would that impact your church and your life? #Faith #LovingGod Click To Tweet

In what ways was it obvious that they had shown no love to God? What was one thing He required?

Sacrifice carried out according to what God had prescribed was required, a sign of Jesus’ coming sacrifice and Jesus’ obedience, which would cover ALL the sins of those who believe.

Kindness and Love as He had instructed, loving our neighbors, loving the refugee/foreigner — these were required. Faith was necessary, lest they and we forget all of the encounters that Israel had experienced with the LORD of hosts and all they had learned of Him.

But they hadn’t done these things, rather they had turned their backs on their God, YHWH.

Then they were carried off to a faraway land full of unbelievers in their God, THE God. And the priests hadn’t yet taught the people about what was acceptable and what wasn’t. And so, their sacrifices were not given with a pure heart and clean hands. Now they were in a time and place of hardship.

Babylonian Captivity

One day, the One who ultimately would fulfill the Promise would also teach it again: “He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver, and he will purify the sons of Levi and refine them like gold and silver, and they will bring offerings in righteousness to the Lord” (Malachi 3:3 ESV).

And, when that cleansing is performed by God the Son, it will be complete forever and ever.

“Then I will draw near to you for judgment. I will be a swift witness against the sorcerers, against the adulterers, against those who swear falsely, against those who oppress the hired worker in his wagesthe widow and the fatherless, against those who thrust aside the sojourner, and do not fear me, says the Lord of hosts” (Malachi 3:5 ESV).

God is just. God is love.

This final verse shows us His compassion toward the deceived, the seduced, the insecure, the oppressed, the widowed, the fatherless, and the sojourner/refugee who is thrust aside.

“Do not fear me,” says the LORD of hosts.

God is just. God is love. "Do not fear Me," says the LORD of hosts (Malachi 3:5). #Faith #LovingGod Click To Tweet

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