“’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).

What does it mean to “honor”? Strong’s #3519. כָּבוֹד kāḇôḏ, כָּבֹד kāḇōḏ: “A masculine singular noun meaning honor, glory, majesty, wealth. This term is commonly used of God.”1. 

“Turning from the people to the priests, Jehovah asks, whereas His love to the people was so greatwhere 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. 2.

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.

Love and reverential fear look like this: Strong’s #4616, “reverence, fear, i.e., respect toward a superior (Mal1:6; 2:5=)”; awesome deeda wonder, i.e., a sign that causes awe, as a nonverbal sign of power (Dt 4:34; 26:8; 34:12+); 4. LN 12.1–12.42  One who is feared, i.e., a title of God (Ps 76:12[EB 11]+)…”3.

The priests of this time knew this, but had ceased to live it or to pursue fellowship with the LORD, never directing Israel to honor God with this type of deep personal respect.

All of these descriptions are true of God ,and as various ways we respond to His majesty. Not only did the priests show none of this love, reverence, and respect they should have been feeling and showing, but they instead showed contempt toward the LORD of hosts.

“It is you priests who show contempt for my name. But you [the priests] say, “How have we despised your name?” (Malachi 1″6b NIV). name?” 

Strong’s #959. defines “show contempt”: A verb meaning to hold in contempt or to despiseThe verb means to hold in disdain, to disrespectIt can mean to prefer something more than the thing despised, e.g., Esau’s birthright (Gen. 25:34), or not to treat something with proper respect (Ezek. 16:59; 22:8; Mal. 1:6)” 4.

The situation is truly bad when the priests don’t believe in the words and actions that they daily perform. They act out of contempt for the LORD by mocking and disdaining these acts of worship, by talking about Him with disrespect, and by holding the entire idea of their faith in disdain.

Imagine the senior pastor and all of the leaders at your church acting like this every single time you came to worship, mocking, disdaining, disrespecting the name of the LORD.

In this way the priests failed the people, for the responsibility of the priesthood was to instruct the Jewish nation in how to worshiphow to approach, and how to know their God. They had not worshiped the LORD in temple worship for more than seventy years, yet the instructions were written down in the Old Testament scrolls. The priests knew this. They ignored it. They blew it.

“A son honors his father, and a servant his maser. 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?’ By offering polluted food upon my altar. But you say, ‘How have we polluted you?’ By saying that the LORD’s table may be despised.” (Malachi 1:6-7 ESV).

Because of their distrust, disdain, and contempt for the LORD, the priests neglected their responsibility to instruct and to guide the people in how to worship and to approach God.