God continued His indictment against the priests in Israel by warning them concerning the seriousness of their rebellion against Him. “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.” Their holiest ceremonial offerings would be regarded as “dung” because they would not truly hear and obey the Word of God.
The Lord reminded them of His ancient “covenant” with the tribe of Levi. He had promised to make them agents of divine benediction to the entire nation. In order to have the “life” and “peace” that God pledged, they needed to approach Him with holy fear, trembling at His commandments. If they humbled themselves before the Almighty, they could have rightly spoken the truth to Israel. Instead they had “turned aside from the way” of the Lord. “You have corrupted the covenant of Levi.”
The offenses of the Jews were not only in the sphere of sacred worship but also in their family lives. “Judah has profaned the sanctuary of the Lord, which He loves, and has married the daughter of a foreign god.” Not only had they entered into prohibited relationships, they had also broken their solemn commitments to the wives of their youth. God said, “You cover the Lord’s altar with tears.” Though they continued to bring sacrificial gifts to God, the Lord heard the cries of the many women who had been abandoned by their husbands.
God instituted marriage with the goal of “godly offspring.” Instead of submitting to His plan, they were ruled by their own desires. They left their first wives in tears, even divorcing them unlawfully. Imagining that they were able to hide their actions from the God they could not see, they ignored their own guilt. They complained, “Where is the God of justice?”
God’s people had become covenant breakers even after returning from the discipline of a serious period of exile. The only hope for them was to place their faith in the Lord’s provision of a future atoning sacrifice who would Himself be an acceptable offering to the Almighty. Through embracing the message of the gospel Jews and Gentiles have found the only way to have peace with God.
Prayer from A Book of Prayers
Great God, we will honor Your Name. We humble ourselves under Your almighty hand. We are to be priests before You. Your servants should be different from the world. We should guard knowledge, give good instruction to one another, and follow what we teach others to do. Particularly within our homes we should be godly examples of love and sacrificial commitment. We should seek You and serve You as we train up our children in the way they should go. Have we spoken thoughtlessly and acted as if You do not care about justice? Have mercy on us, O Lord.