Friday, April 11, 2014

An Indictment Against the Priests of Israel (Part XI)

For the priest's lips should keep knowledge, and they should seek the law at his mouth: for he is the messenger of the LORD of hosts.” (Malachi 2:7)

This may be the clearest verse in all of Scripture concerning God's purpose for the Old Testament priest. He was not intended to see himself as more righteous than others. Slaying the offerings was not his primary job. Offering up incense and trimming the lamps was not the end of his purpose. As fearful and vital as it was, not even his yearly entrance into the holy of holies was, in and of itself, his greatest responsibility. His most exalted purpose was that of a messenger. He had the overwhelming responsibility of leading the ignorant and the needy to God, of rebuking the behavior of the rebellious, and of teaching all men the difference between the clean and the unclean (Ezekiel 44:23). God has, in every dispensation, loved souls; therefore, the descendents of Levi were to walk in such a way as to point the lost sinner to “...the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world (John 1:29).” The verb should keep is derived from a root that means to guard. A noun form of this word means a gate. God's priest, whether he be an Israelite priest of the Old Testament or a believer priest of the New Testament, is intended to guard truth with jealousy and great zeal. The people of Malachi's day should have been able to seek the exposition of God's law from the priests. They should have been able to make inquiry concerning its precepts and principles. The priest was to be a messenger! This is the only place in the Old Testament where God's priest is called a messenger. This is the same word translated angel. As God's angelic host is faithful and loyal to His wishes, so must the priest be.

The responsibility of the believer priest is just as great. How many Christians view their purpose as mundane and optional? How many truly realize the tremendous impact they could have on those around them? The people of the world should be able to see a great difference between the world's philosophy and the doctrine of God's messenger. May every believer give himself to the study and practice of the Scriptures in order that the Lord's words be fulfilled, “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven (Matthew 5:16).” This verse offers tremendous conviction concerning a Christian's speech. His mouth is intended to utter words of faithfulness, not foolishness. The believer's speech is to be “...alway with grace, seasoned with salt...(Colossians 4:6).” Foul language, vain talk, foolish jesting, filthiness, and profanity should be as foreign to a Christian as they are to Christ Himself. God's words and God's doctrine should roll off of the believer's tongue with ease. To have it otherwise indicates a focus on something other than Scripture.

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