"My covenant with [Levi] was one of life and peace, and I gave them to him. It was a covenant of fear, and he feared me. He stood in awe of my name. True instruction was in his mouth, and no wrong was found on his lips. He walked with me in peace and uprightness, and he turned many from iniquity. For the lips of a priest should guard knowledge, and people should seek instruction from his mouth, for he is the messenger of Yahweh of hosts." - Malachi 2:5-7
Malachi, writing to the Jewish priests in Jerusalem sometime between 435-415 bc, reminds them of God's covenant with their tribe, the Levites. God intends to bring life and peace to the priests and Levites as they instruct Israel. The prerequisite is that they are to fear God and stand in awe of his name. Their mouths are to offer true instruction. They are to walk with God in peace and righteousness, turning many from sin. Their lips are to guard biblical knowledge as people seek instruction from them. They hold a crucial place in the Jewish community, for they are God's messengers.
I love these verses. Here are some applicational points for today, for the Church: (1) God intends life and peace for elders, pastors, missionaries, and evangelists who speak to people on his behalf; (2) God's spokesmen must fear him and hold a true respect for who he is; (3) they must present true, accurate instruction to people, without hidden agendas or motives; (4) they must walk with God in a close, personal relationship, which is the source of their strength; (5) through their words they are to endeavour to turn many from sin; (6) their lips must carefully guard biblical truth; and (7) they must humbly carry out their important task of serving as God's messengers.
Father, thank you for your covenant of life and peace with the tribe of Levi. Father, may we who speak for you today have an attitude of fear and awe. May we carry with us a vision of your holiness (Isaiah 6) as we speak to men. May we take our Bible teaching responsibility very seriously. May we walk with you in a close, personal relationship, and may our lips be pure. May we be rightly motivated as we speak. Save us from spiritual pride and arrogance. May we glorify your name and not our own name. Through true instruction, may we turn many from sin. May we guard the knowledge you have revealed to us in Scripture.
Father, thank you for blessing Truth for Youth this weekend. I pray you will help us to organise more sessions with gifted, prepared speakers who will instruct us as described in Malachi 2:5-7. Continue to bless these apologetics sessions. Help Steve and Todd to prepare for tonight, and may we all be attentive, teachable students. In Jesus' name, amen.
- Jeff Coleman