I will rebuke your descendants and splatter your faces with the dung of your festival sacrifices, and I will add you to the dung heap (Malachi 2:3).
Talk about disgusting metaphoric imagery … that’s gotta be in the top five most putrid of the Bible. God can be pretty expressive in His communication style. I love the fact that God always cuts right to the chase. But all kidding aside, He was giving the priests a very severe warning. Why would a loving God wish such an unsanitary and degrading fate on anyone? The fact is God does love us and wants to bless us. But in His justice He cannot bless what is wicked; He can only curse wickedness. His warnings are given to help us repent and turn back to Him so that we can receive His blessings. In His amazing kindness and mercy, He extends time for us to repent and turn back to Him.
Getting back to the dung splatter … why would God threaten to do that to the priests? Let me tell you, it was not in the least unprovoked. The Father God expressed His love to the people of Israel and their response was like a stinging slap in the face: “How have you loved us?” What a selfish and rebellious response! It makes me think of how I used to be as a rotten, rebellious kid. “What have you done for me lately?” You would think that all someone would have to do is think about how Christ suffered and died for us to know just how much God loves us. I was so horrified to hear a struggling Christian say recently, “Jesus didn’t suffer that much. He died a quick death.” I could scarcely believe that came out of her mouth.
How have you loved me? That question belies a complete lack of respect for God. Out of this contempt, the priests did many things that dishonored the Lord. First of all, they don’t serve with a servant’s heart. “It’s too hard to serve the Lord,” they say. If someone is going to just grumble when they do something for me, I’d rather they not do it. God feels the same way (Malachi 1:10). Second, they offered defiled food on His altar. The animal to be sacrificed were to be perfect and without blemish. Instead, the priests only gave God the blind, decrepit or diseased beasts. And even that, they only gave begrudgingly (Malachi 2:13).
As priests they were supposed to guide the people to follow and serve the Lord. But they themselves weren’t doing that. Jews were not to marry foreign women because those women would bring foreign idols into the homes of the Israelites and teach their children to do the same. Doing so would pollute the people’s faithfulness to the Lord. But even the priests married foreign women (Nehemiah 13:28). Even the Temple itself wasn’t safe from pagan infiltration. Amazingly, one priests even cornered off a Temple storeroom for the use of pagan government official (Nehemiah 13:5).
And after all that, they had the gall to question God’s justice. Probably when some tragedy occurred, they would shake their fist at heaven and ask, “Where is the God of justice?” That’s just what people still do today. They show contempt for God in their lives and when something bad happens that blame God.
I am so grieved to think how we human beings have repeatedly disgraced God ever since we were first created. How can I love God? How can I honor Him rightly? First I need to repent. Then I need to seek Him with all of my heart, not begrudgingly with grumbling, but with a joyful and humble heart of a servant. And my sacrifices are to be the very best I can give. How contemptible some of my previous sacrifices have been! I know that the best part of my day is early in the morning when it is still quiet. I must give Him my very best, not my leftovers. If I waited until past midnight until I finally tried to read the Bible and pray, I’d be so tired that I’d only be able to offer a pitiful sacrifice and that only begrudgingly given because I’d rather sleep. So I need to give Him my very best part of every day. And in every area of my life, I must live sanctified unto the Lord. Each part of my life must be consecrated and set apart for the glory of God. I must be very careful not to allow the slightest bit of compromise.
Lord, you know how I’ve failed You. I’m so sorry. I want to make a new start. Please forgive me and give me a refreshing from Your Spirit. Help me to live a life that is pleasing to You. I don’t want to be like those priests. I definitely don’t want no dung on my face! Help me, Lord, to consecrate every part of my life to You and to offer my very best to You. Let me be a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing in Your sight. My desire is to honor You. Help me do that!