But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God...

I Peter 2:9, NIV

 

"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 on 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 

 

In the Old Testament times under the Law of Moses, God set apart a select few to serve Him as priests. Part of their function was to bring God's Word to others. The only way that they could do that acceptably was for them to know God's Word, and the only way that they would ever be motivated to undertake that heavy responsibility was to prepare their hearts to seek and honor God.

 

Now we might think, so what? We are not under the Old Law and we are not priests, therefore none of this applies to us. But if we have that reaction, we would only be half correct, for while we are no longer under the old law, those of us who have believed, confessed that belief, repented of our sins and have been added to Christ through baptism are most certainly priests, for all Christians are a holy priesthood before God.

 

We have just finished reading through the entire Old Testament in 120 days - what have we learned? Well, one of the most important lessons is that God loves us and will bless us richly if we do His will - that's God's part. But as we have read over and over, God expected His people to do His will and, for His priests, that responsibility was even greater! So, what's the point? The point is that not all Jews were priests so not all had the awesome responsibility that went along with the priesthood... but all Christians are priests!

 

And if God held the priesthood to a higher standard under the old law, what kind of a standard do you think He will hold us to under the Christian dispensation? The reason that we read the Old Testament, in part, is to learn of the nature and expectations of God.

 

And God has always held His priests to a higher standard. He demands that His priests set their hearts upon honoring He and His Son, and He expects us to obey His commands and teach others to do the same. This is one of the great responsibilities of being a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, and a people belonging to God. Did you know that you had that responsibility? Here is how He put it to His priests of old:

 

For the lips of a priest ought to preserve knowledge, and from his mouth men should seek instruction -

because he is a messenger of the LORD. 

Malachi 2:7, NIV

 

But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God,

that you may declare the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His wonderful light.

I Peter 2:9, NIV

 

Today is the last day of the 30 day challenge to read through the books of the prophets of God, with the book of Malachi being the reading for today. It is also the last of five, 30 day challenges to read through the entire Bible. If you have met the challenge, well done! Now, what will you do with your new found knowledge?

The next step will be a series of 30 day challenges to study through the books of the Old Testament - something that probably fewer than 1% of Christians will ever do. Are you up to the challenge? May God richly bless you as you prepare your heart to seek and do His holy will!