When you take the position of priest, minister, or any spiritual leader, you are taking on a huge responsibility. It is such an important role that there are huge repercussions for those that don’t approach it with humility and seriousness. God was not expecting perfection for any of these people, but He did expect a true heart that showed love toward Him.
“And now this admonition is for you, O priests. If you do not listen, and if you do not set your heart to honor my name,” says the LORD Almighty, “I will send a curse upon you, and I will curse your blessings. Yes, I have already cursed them, because you have not set your heart to honor me. (Malachi 2:1-2 NIV)
Sounds pretty serious! There is that word listen that many people just don’t get. Listening involves more than just hearing noises and nodding in response. It involves processing what is said and acting accordingly. God wants you to LISTEN to Him, not just hear Him. And when you listen, you need to deliberately set your whole being to bringing honor to His name. That means walking in His light and down the path He calls you. When you don’t do that, you are bringing certain disaster on yourself. That could be in many forms, but to have God angry at you for refusing to honor Him correctly after vowing to do so is not something I wake up in the morning and gleefully decide to do.
“Because of you I will rebuke your descendants ; I will spread on your faces the offal from your festival sacrifices, and you will be carried off with it. And you will know that I have sent you this admonition so that my covenant with Levi may continue,” says the LORD Almighty. “My covenant was with him, a covenant of life and peace, and I gave them to him; this called for reverence and he revered me and stood in awe of my name. True instruction was in his mouth and nothing false was found on his lips. He walked with me in peace and uprightness, and turned many from sin. (Malachi 2:3-6 NIV)
Boy, these are harsh words. But this was serious business. You have to understand what was going on at this time in the priesthood. These priests were refusing to preach the Word correctly. They were willing to say anything to please the powerful and the masses, not what was true. They were allowing the rich and powerful to get away with horrid sins while the Word told them to confront them. They were allowing illegal activities within the priesthood to flourish. Years later when God physically walked in the temple Himself, He took those acts and the people committing them and ran them very harshly out of the temple. This is extremely important to him. Truth is required from the spiritual leaders’ mouths. When it is not, only bad can come out of it.
Though the priests (or ministers) of today are not descendants from Levi, that in no way excuses them. A spiritual leader appointed by God is still under this same order. The only difference is that if you were born in the tribe of Levi you knew from birth what your calling was. Men of God today including teachers are called upon the same responsibilities.
“For the lips of a priest ought to preserve knowledge, and from his mouth men should seek instruction—because he is the messenger of the LORD Almighty. But you have turned from the way and by your teaching have caused many to stumble; you have violated the covenant with Levi,” says the LORD Almighty. “So I have caused you to be despised and humiliated before all the people, because you have not followed my ways but have shown partiality in matters of the law.” (Malachi 2:7-9 NIV)
Words from a spiritual leader should contain wisdom and correction that the people need in their lives. They might not want the words, but they are what are needed at that time. A spiritual leader is one that others should seek out and inquire for guidance and confirmations. But when the words are not those of God, punishment is severe.
Are you a spiritual leader? Are you sure that you are walking in the Word correctly? Whether you feel like you are or not, take a walk through Proverbs and a walk through the Timothy’s. Be wise and verify your stance on issues before uttering anymore potentially incorrect words. This is not a game. It could be eternal.