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Worthy Worship: Malachi 2:1-4

Malachi: REFOCUSED
Worthy Worship: Malachi 2:1-4
Pastor John Weathersby
Sunday October 17, 2021

Notes, Not a Transcript:

Knowledge inspires worship, as worship finds its root in truth, not emotion.
Last week Pastor John Nicholas walked us through a lot about Worship in Malachi 1:12-14, challenging us to consider the question, is our worship worthy or worthless today? We see God challenging the very priests charged with leading all of Israel to alignment with Him being both called and provided a way to worthy worship.

Malachi 2:1–4
1 “And now, O priests, this command is for you.

We do well when we study left of Matthew to consider extra carefully the times and places of scripture and consider who these passages are too. Here we see instructions given to the priests. The priests and priestly duties are handed to Israel by God. Largely through Moses, we see temple worship duties (butchering, burning, and inspecting rashes/boils) as well as teaching the word. We see, for example, Ezra the priest and scribe,

Nehemiah 8:1
1And all the people gathered as one man into the square before the Water Gate. And they told Ezra, the scribe, to bring the Book of the Law of Moses that the Lord had commanded Israel.

Nehemiah 8:4–8
4 And Ezra, the scribe, stood on a wooden platform that they had made for the purpose. And beside him stood Mattithiah, Shema, Anaiah, Uriah, Hilkiah, and Maaseiah on his right hand, and Pedaiah, Mishael, Malchijah, Hashum, Hashbaddanah, Zechariah, and Meshullam on his left hand.
5 And Ezra opened the book in the sight of all the people, for he was above all the people, and as he opened it all the people stood.
6 And Ezra blessed the Lord, the great God, and all the people answered, “Amen, Amen,” lifting up their hands. And they bowed their heads and worshiped the Lord with their faces to the ground.
7 Also Jeshua, Bani, Sherebiah, Jamin, Akkub, Shabbethai, Hodiah, Maaseiah, Kelita, Azariah, Jozabad, Hanan, Pelaiah, the Levites, helped the people to understand the Law, while the people remained in their places.
8 They read from the book, from the Law of God, clearly, and they gave the sense, so that the people understood the reading.

Nehemiah 8:9
9 And Nehemiah, who was the governor, and Ezra the priest and scribe, and the Levites who taught the people said to all the people, “This day is holy to the Lord your God; do not mourn or weep.” For all the people wept as they heard the words of the Law.

The role of the priesthood was to administer sacraments and bring people to God, acceptably.

The book of Hebrews here is helpful, as it gives New Testament (Matthew and right) light to Old Testament (Malachi and left revelation). When working to understand the office of the Priest, the Church, and the Pastor, this passage gives conclusion:

Hebrews 7:15–25 (ESV)
15 This becomes even more evident when another priest arises in the likeness of Melchizedek,
16 who has become a priest, not on the basis of a legal requirement concerning bodily descent, but by the power of an indestructible life.
17 For it is witnessed of him,
“You are a priest forever,
after the order of Melchizedek.”
18 For on the one hand, a former commandment is set aside because of its weakness and uselessness
19 (for the Law made nothing perfect); but on the other hand, a better hope is introduced, through which we draw near to God.
20 And it was not without an oath. For those who formerly became priests were made such without an oath,
21 but this one was made a priest with an oath by the one who said to him:
“The Lord has sworn
and will not change his mind,
‘You are a priest forever.’ “
22 This makes Jesus the guarantor of a better covenant.

23 The former priests were many in number, because they were prevented by death from continuing in office,
24 but he holds his priesthood permanently, because he continues forever.
25 Consequently, he is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them.

Verses 18:
but on the other hand, a better hope is introduced, through which we draw near to God.
And 22:
This makes Jesus the guarantor of a better covenant.

Help us understand how to view the priesthood – as not over, but perfectly satisfied in Jesus. The human priests were set aside by God, yet fallen creatures still, Jesus is fully God and man, bridging the impasse previously present. The office does not continue today in the office of the pastor. However, echoes of the duties (baptism/communion) marrying and burring exist, but the core and crux are teaching.

When you meet a priest today, you meet a cosplayer.
Pastors are primarily teachers of The Word; because Knowledge is the root of worship.
So why study this passage? Because it amplifies the person, work, and eternal perfection of Christ – as the once finished priestly sacrifice, we can then infer that any errors made here are satisfied in Christ. So this passage causes us to marvel at Jesus inspiring us to worthy worship. Moreover, the passage helps us understand further fuller worship, which drives us to worthy worship.

Pastor John Nicholas helped us to see better what worship is last week. Today, in this disputation, we have a continuation on the theme of worship. When we see God for all He is, as He has revealed Himself, our reaction to truth is worship. Through the prophet/messenger, God snaps the priest’s mind and the people to the truth of their practice which implicates the truth of their worship.

Knowledge inspires worship, as worship finds its root in truth, not emotion.

2 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. Indeed, I have already cursed them, because you do not lay it to heart.

Two things God says through Malachi here:

  1. Listen
  2. Take to heart

You can imagine the peanuts cartoon (stick with me, we’ll leave this soon, I promise). The gang all hear each other plainly, right? Those of us who were allowed to stay up past 8 to watch the Christmas special each year (which I could not, by the way). That’s how you know you’re an annoying talkative kid. Your parents won’t even break bedtime to let you watch this show. But, when the teachers talk, what do they hear? Noise.

They need first to listen. Without that, they cannot do the second important part – which is this, take to heart God’s warning.

We need to approach the Word for knowledge, not noise. I said last week that the word in Ephesians is the only offensive weapon in spiritual warfare. If we placed a rack of swords up-front this week and told you that you would be attacked upon leaving, you would stay for sword training. Also, you’d really study it – how much more our study in the Word.

This is a real pattern: It’s real today, for the Cosplaying priest; listen to the word, read Hebrews, and be inspired to worthy worship.

When God is heard, and the message is taken to heart or placed in the center of our being, our decision centers, the core of who we are as truth; then honor is given to God’s name, worship is the reaction because Knowledge inspires worship, as worship finds its root in truth, not emotion.

The inverse of what God is saying here:

“If you will not listen, if you will not take it to heart to give honor to my name.”

Is, if you will listen, if you will take it to heart you’ll give honor to my name”.

But, in the order of the Old Testament priesthood that God gave through Moses to the children of Israel, the people would know God through their instruction. They’d be made ready to be nearer to God through their actions, their acts of propitiation.

In Matthew and right: Romans 3:25 reads:

25 whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins.

As well as Hebrews 9:5 (ESV)
5 Above it were the cherubim of glory overshadowing the mercy seat. Of these things we cannot now speak in detail.

We read about the hilasterion, the cherubim of glory overshadowing the hilasterion/mercy seat. We that God put forward Jesus (in the Romans 3 passage) as propitiation/hilasterion by his blood, to be received by faith.

In the Septuagint, which we’ve discussed in the past was the Greek-speaking Jews translation work(s) or traditionally six scholars from each of the 12 tribes for a total of 72. These writings were widely distributed among the believers in the time of Christ. Much of the NT quotations are from the LXX (because LXXII, doesn’t sound as cool).

Why say all that?

I’m glad you asked, because

Exodus 25:17 (ESV)
17 “You shall make a mercy seat of pure gold. Two cubits and a half shall be its length, and a cubit and a half its breadth.

Exodus 25:21 (ESV)
21 And you shall put the mercy seat on the top of the ark, and in the ark you shall put the testimony that I shall give you.

Exodus 30:6 (ESV)
6 And you shall put it in front of the veil that is above the ark of the testimony, in front of the mercy seat that is above the testimony, where I will meet with you.

The mercy seat in the LXX was hilasterion, The reconciling by the blood of God’s special creature, man, to Himself. It is not with a wink that God makes us right though we’re in opposition to His character (which is love). Rather through great effort(s) by God, He unites us to Himself.

If we listen to that and sink it into the core of who we are, worship will be our reaction. God stamps this into Israel indelibly so that we’ll see it and know it. That rather then, we cosplay as priests or cosplay as Christians, we’d understand His pursuing love for us, that we’d see Him God perusing a resistant Gomer (in Hosea) who personifies us, a faithless lover who the husband knows will be unfaithful.

Psalm 103:14 (ESV)
14  For he knows our frame;
he remembers that we are dust.

3 Behold, I will rebuke your offspring, and spread dung on your faces, the dung of your offerings, and you shall be taken away with it.
4 So shall you know that I have sent this command to you, that my covenant with Levi may stand, says the Lord of hosts.

Levi is a tribe after Jacob’s son. Levi’s is the priestly line. God truly seeing God would cause them to truly react to Him Because Knowledge inspires worship, as worship finds its root in truth, not emotion. Through this warning, God calls them back to truth.

Church, let us see God in His word, not through the lens of our imagination and cosplay. Like the two-part pattern of return that God gives to the Priests, let’s listen to and take to heart His Word and let be driven, in truth, to worthy worship.

Pray, Observe, Apply.

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