Monday, January 21, 2008


As we have continued in our McWorship Series here at Grace on Sunday mornings we have seen the key words LOVE and SERVICE. We have learned that authentic worship involves a proper response to the love of God and involves serving God with our very best. Last Sunday we entered chapter two of the book of Malachi and saw the key word, “DISCIPLINE.” Authentic worship involves obeying God without compromise.

Malachi mentions the covenant God made with Levi in 2:4, 5 and 8. The Levites were placed in charge of caring for and tending to the tabernacle (Numbers 1:47-53; 18:7-8, 19-21). God also made a covenant of life and peace with the Levites through the righteous actions of a man named Phinehas who was a Levite that took a great stand against evil. We read about this Old Testament hero in Numbers 25.

Israel had not yet entered the Promised Land. During this time, a false prophet named Balaam tried to curse the nation but was unsuccessful. Balaam also tried to corrupt the nation by encouraging them to worship a false god called Ball-Peor which included the practice of sexual immorality with Moabite women. Moses made the pronouncement that all who practiced immorality and worshipped Baal-Peor were to be put to death. The people immediately started weeping because of the realization of the consequences of their immorality and idolatry.

But one man did not repent. Zimri, a man who was bold in his rebellion and sinfulness, took a Midianite prostitute before all the people, Moses and God, into his tent and committed fornication with her in bold rebellion against God. Phinehas, who was Aaron’s grandson, in godly jealousy and zeal, took a javelin and went into the tent and killed Zimri and the prostitute by thrusting the javelin through her belly. As a result of this deed, God gave to Zimri and his descendants a covenant of peace.

In essence Malachi wanted the priests of his day to compare themselves with Phinehas. Unlike this hero and other men like Levi, these modern priests were defiling the name of the Lord. Malachi shows the punishment that is awaiting the priests for their disobedience (v1-2). This curse is spoken of in Deuteronomy 27:15-26; 28:15-58. One thing is clear in Scripture. God always blesses obedience and always punishes disobedience

Malachi lists the specific results of this curse in verse three. He says that he is going to rebuke their offspring. The word is commonly translated “seed” and could mean that their offspring would not be priests. However, the same word is also translated “arm” and could mean that the priests would be rendered powerless. He also says that he would spread refuse on their faces. When a sacrifice was made, the inward organs of digestion, which contained dung, were removed and taken outside the city to the Valley of Hinnon where they were burned. God is simply saying that he would reveal their sin so that they would be expelled outside the camp. The bottom line is clear. We cannot be authentic worshippers of God unless we are disciplined to obey God without compromise.

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