Acceptable Worship and Service

Malachi 2:1-9

Malachi delivered a hard message to the priests of Israel. Many years earlier the Lord had chosen the descendants of Levi to have charge of the temple service and to instruct the people. This sacred duty was an honor—it should have caused them to stand in awe of the Lord and serve Him with fear and reverence. But in Malachi’s day the priests had dishonored Him with their attitudes and actions.

At first glance, it may seem that this Old Testament passage has nothing to do with us, but as believers in Christ, we are a holy priesthood who offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God (1 Peter 2:5). This truth should cause us to pause and consider whether we are fulfilling this sacred duty with the right attitudes and actions. The failures of the priests in Malachi 2 warn us of attitudes that will lead us down the path of irreverence and disobedience.

• First, the priests dishonored God’s name by serving Him in a careless manner and offering unacceptable sacrifices. (See Mal. 2:1-3.)

• Second, they were ungrateful for God’s covenant, which gave them close access to Him through their priestly service. (See Mal. 2:4-6.)

• Third, they didn’t preserve knowledge of God’s Word but led people astray with their instructions. (See Mal. 2:7-9.)

Since we are now God’s holy priesthood, we must ask ourselves if we have dishonored His name with careless worship, ingratitude, or a failure to uphold His truth as revealed in Scripture. Salvation is a marvelous blessing, but it comes with responsibilities. Our worship and service are acceptable only if they are offered according to God’s desires and standards—not ours.

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