Woe to those appointed to be God’s mouth to the people,
but who instead are a stone of stumbling.
All who rest in external performances of religion will not only come short of acceptance with God in them,
but will be filled with shame and confusion.
1 And now, O ye priests, this commandment is for you.
2 If ye will not hear, and if ye will not lay it to heart, to give glory unto my name, saith the LORD of hosts, I will even send a curse upon you, and I will curse your blessings: yea, I have cursed them already, because ye do not lay it to heart.
3 Behold, I will corrupt your seed, and spread dung upon your faces, even the dung of your solemn feasts; and one shall take you away with it.
4 And ye shall know that I have sent this commandment unto you, that my covenant might be with Levi, saith the LORD of hosts.
5 My covenant was with him of life and peace; and I gave them to him for the fear wherewith he feared me, and was afraid before my name.
6 The law of truth was in his mouth, and iniquity was not found in his lips: he walked with me in peace and equity, and did turn many away from iniquity.
7 For the priest’s lips should keep knowledge, and they should seek the law at his mouth: for he is the messenger of the LORD of hosts.
8 But ye are departed out of the way; ye have caused many to stumble at the law; ye have corrupted the covenant of Levi, saith the LORD of hosts.
9 Therefore have I also made you contemptible and base before all the people, according as ye have not kept my ways, but have been partial in the law.
10 Have we not all one father? hath not one God created us? why do we deal treacherously every man against his brother, by profaning the covenant of our fathers?
11 ¶ Judah hath dealt treacherously, and an abomination is committed in Israel and in Jerusalem; for Judah hath profaned the holiness of the LORD which he loved, and hath married the daughter of a strange god.
12 The LORD will cut off the man that doeth this, the master and the scholar, out of the tabernacles of Jacob, and him that offereth an offering unto the LORD of hosts.
13 And this have ye done again, covering the altar of the LORD with tears, with weeping, and with crying out, insomuch that he regardeth not the offering any more, or receiveth it with good will at your hand.
14 ¶ Yet ye say, Wherefore? Because the LORD hath been witness between thee and the wife of thy youth, against whom thou hast dealt treacherously: yet is she thy companion, and the wife of thy covenant.
15 And did not he make one? Yet had he the residue of the spirit. And wherefore one? That he might seek a godly seed. Therefore take heed to your spirit, and let none deal treacherously against the wife of his youth.
16 For the LORD, the God of Israel, saith that he hateth putting away: for one covereth violence with his garment, saith the LORD of hosts: therefore take heed to your spirit, that ye deal not treacherously.
17 ¶ Ye have wearied the LORD with your words. Yet ye say, Wherein have we wearied him? When ye say, Every one that doeth evil is good in the sight of the LORD, and he delighteth in them; or, Where is the God of judgment?
Malachi 1 – J. Vernon McGee
Malachi 2 – The Transgression of the Covenant
As a contrast to the disgraceful attitude which the prophet had described as characteristic of the priesthood, he paints the picture of the noble priest, whose burning zeal for God’s honor averted evil and punishment from the people. It is desirable that each servant of God should seek to exemplify these traits of character, for it is only they who walk with God in peace and equity who can “turn many away from iniquity” (Malachi 2:6). The prophet reproves those who had put away their Jewish wives and had contracted marriage with foreigners. In doing this they had ignored the fact that God was the Father of the Hebrew race, of the women as well as the men, in an especial sense in which He was not the Father of the heathen. In answer to the argument of the Jews, who demanded a plurality of wives, Malachi says that God originally made only one woman for one man, though He could have made many. It was a sin, therefore, against the original constitution of the race for a man to have more than one wife, and this is the argument that our Lord employed in Matthew 19:4. The one man for the one woman is the secret of a happy home-life and of a godly seed. —Through the Bible Day by Day
Malachi 2:6—He walked with me in peace and equity, and did turn many away from iniquity.
These inspiring words, especially the last clause, might well hang in the secret chamber of every servant of God. They were specially prized by the sainted R. M. McCheyne, whose life was a beautiful exemplar of their meaning. You will notice that covenant dates back to the righteous zeal of Phinehas for the honor of God (Numbers 25). How well God remembers such things, and writes them in ineffaceable characters on the tablets of his memory! But what a contrast between that noble ancestry and the degenerate successors of Malachi s days!
Do you want to turn many away from iniquity? You must walk with God, hourly, constantly, in blessed and intimate fellowship, learning from Him who you are to approach, what line you are to follow in dealing with them, and the message you are to deliver. You must expect to come into collision with them: they are coming in one direction, God and you are will be going in just the reverse. But go on walking with God; fear his fear; know the terror of losing his companionship, even for a moment; be perfectly transparent in speech and life; let your lips be weighted with his messages only. The result will more than compensate. Yours will be the abundant life, and yours the peace which is unspeakable; yours will be the uprightness of soul which carries the Divine radiance on its face, and yours the joy in arresting the way of transgressors and sinners.
Plead this promise: “Lord, let me be used to turn many away from iniquity,” and notice that this most blessed result will accrue much less from what you say than from what you are. It was Levi’s walk and converse with God; more even than his words, that produced this wholesale reformation. —Our Daily Homily