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Malachi: A Treacherous Heart

We pick up today in Malachi 2:8.  The Lord has been challenging the priests of Israel about their sins.  Now the message begins to transition into a problem that was riddled throughout all of Israel: Treachery.  Starting with the priests, verses 8-9 use the word treachery to speak of the favoritism that the priests were showing.

Showing Favoritism In God’s Things

In the 1990’s several articles were written speaking of polls that showed the fall of the reputation of ministers.  A high percentage of the population held a low esteem of pastors.  Part of the reason for this is that people kept running into leaders and churches that showed favoritism in God’s things.  Recently a similar article came out only this time the profession on the hot-seat was journalism.  Journalists have now found themselves at the bottom of professional esteem along with ministers and lawyers.  Why?  Mostly because they have showed favoritism in how they have reported the Truth.  Now whenever a person purports to speak on behalf of truth, they are dealing with God’s territory.  Even though journalists are not operating in an official religious capacity, their insistence that they are speaking the truth puts them in an area that God not only takes seriously, but He will also defend.  Many journalists today have departed from the righteous reason to report news and have corrupted the proper ways of reporting in order to shape the opinion of the public.  This is called a treachery in verse 10.  Treachery is when we work under the cover of something good in order to do something bad.  We use the good to get people to trust us but in the end we are only interested in how it can help us, which is not good.

The priests were using the good things of God for their own purposes and God will not suffer such wickedness.  They were not walking on the path that God’s Law had prescribed to them.  They had reasoned themselves away from God Way.  Now we need to remember that God’s Way is the The Good Way.  It is the way that leads to life.  But, there is a way that seems right in the eyes of a man but the end of it is death.  These priests had left the path to life and were now on a path that led to destruction.  It didn’t look like that to them.  In fact somehow they had convinced themselves that what they were doing was the thing that would bring them what they wanted.  Ultimately we are all responsible for our own path.  But God will deal with those who are an “accessory to the crime.”  It is not an excuse, but it is inexcusable.  Thus these priests and any who do such things need to confess it and repent of it.

When it says that they had shown partiality in the law, this is a reference to Leviticus 19:15.  “You shall do no injustice in judgment.  You shall not be partial to the poor, nor honor the person of the mighty.  In righteousness you shall judge your neighbor.”  Here God is warning Israel against perverting justice whether for the poor or for the mighty.  Notice how He points out the reasons why we might do either one.  Those who pervert justice for the sake of the poor might think they are doing a good thing.  The poor are in a pitiable situation and don’t have anything in life.  So to pervert justice for them might seem almost spiritual: “fighting for the little guy.”  However, God condemns this.  No society can prosper that rewards wickedness whether from a poor person or a rich one.  Now on the other side we can be tempted to pervert justice for the mighty.  Notice here the word “honor” is used.  These mighty people are heavy weights and can do a lot for us.  Thus we are tempted to esteem them as of greater weight than the poor.  God says not to do it.  Thus we have the cultural image of the “Lady Justice” being blindfolded.  Justice is based on the facts in evidence rather than on who is standing before it.

Now we today have been shown the way by the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the teachings of His Apostles.  How much more important is it for us to pay attention to God’s heart in these matters?  If we pervert justice within the Church of Christ then we not only bring shame on God’s reputation but we also cause ourselves to be contemptible in the sight of the world.

When we adopt a “pick-and-choose” mentality with the things of God we will find that God will not accept such activity.  It is an abomination to Him.  In respect to people, we cannot allow ourselves to pick and choose who we are going to be hard on and who we are going to be easy on.  God will not stand such wicked actions.  We should uphold justice with grace with all people.  In respect to duties or teachings of Christ, we cannot allow ourselves to be partial either.  When we choose which teachings we will follow and which we will disregard, we only bring discipline and judgment from God down on our own heads.  This is a problem that is riddled throughout our society, both in the Church and outside of it.  It is abhorrent to God and is destroying us as a people.  Unless we confess that it is sin and turn away from it back towards the Good Path, then we will continue to slide towards the destruction that awaits such stiff-necked people.  May God give us the grace to see our sin and repent.

Treacherous Heart Audio