It is you priests who show contempt for my name. But you ask, ‘How have we shown contempt for your name?’
In Israel’s day, the priests were supposed to lead the people to have a good relationship with God. But at the time of Malachi they were actually influencing the people to despise God’s name. People respected God less because of the way the priests treated God.
God’s name is God’s reputation, and it’s very important. It’s how we think about him. Sometimes God’s people portray him as angry and mean. Other times we portray him as being weak, or unfair, or uncaring. When God’s people don’t show the world what God is really like, it confuses people and makes them less likely to accept him.
Thankfully the Bible portrays God as he truly is—compassionate, slow to anger, and abounding in love. Though God may become angry, his anger doesn’t last, and his love returns. And in his love the Lord removes our transgressions and sins from us—“as far as the east is from the west.”
When we read the Bible and accept the whole book as the revelation of who God is, how God acts, and what his purposes are, then, over time, we can grow to know him better. He is the one, true, holy God who offers us salvation from sin. And as we grow to know him, we have a responsibility to honor God’s name all over the world, showing people the loving God that he truly is.
Lord Jesus, you are gracious and kind. You haven’t ignored our sin or the difficulties in this world. You gave your life to heal us. Help us to get to know you better each day. Amen.
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