Malachi 2:1–9, Colossians 3:5–17, 1 Peter 2:1–8 (read online)
In a number of bibles (both translations and iterations), this passage in Malachi has the header of Warning to the Priests. You may have read that yourself. This passage is indeed to the Israelite priests, who fulfill the forms of worship, prayer, supplication, and sacrifice, but do not fulfill the heart of any of it. Tying the heart of worship to honoring God’s name should give any of us pause. Look at what God is equating to the behavior of their hearts: animal poop and entrails. In other words, what’s coming out of them is crap. Pretty harsh.
The problem that many Christians have reading this passage is, “this doesn’t apply to me.” Except if you read Paul’s and Peter’s letters, the category of Israelite/Jewish Priest actually does apply to all of us. Paul’s letter removes the human-based barriers between people. Peter removes the concept of non-priest. In other words, the warning of Malachi does apply to each of us.
Now, we could say that the Law doesn’t apply to us. Okay. Yet, the “Law” of love (love the Lord your God) would seem to wipe that argument out in context. While we use and have the titles of priest, pastor, reverend, minister, and while they have a certain place within the church, that does not spare us from the priesthood of all believers.
Re-read Malachi. Replace “you” with “me”, and “your” with “my”. Take this personally.
1) How have you violated what God calls on us to do/be according to the words in Malachi?
2) Scripture is pretty down-to-earth. This passage in Malachi shows it (along with a little rephrasing). Why is it important that the Scriptures are so down-to-earth? What happens when we over gentle the Word of God?
3) Barriers are a common tactic. Why do you think it is important that Paul and Peter removed them? What barriers need to be removed in your life, particularly with how you categorized and interact with other people?