As this in Future Preachers Training Camp week here at Bear Valley, “preacher stuff” is on my mind. Even doing my morning devotional, which included today reading the book of Malachi, a short section of scripture stood out to me. In the book of Malachi, the book whose date is closest to the first century, God is declaring His faithfulness and righteousness while charging Judah with shallow and insufficient living as the children of God. God was doing His part, but His people were not. In chapter two, Malachi specifically addresses the Levitical priests. The priests in Malachi’s day were not honoring God like their forefather Levi did. In verses five through seven, Malachi depicts the ideal priest. He then tells them that because they had wandered far from that ideal, God was rejecting them.
Here is Malachi’s eightfold description of an effective priest:
- He Has Great Reverence For God (2:5)
- True Instruction Is In His Mouth (2:6)
- Unrighteousness Is Not Found On His Lips (2:6)
- He Walks With God In Peace And Uprightness (2:6)
- He Turns Many Back From Iniquity (2:6)
- He Preserves Knowledge (2:7)
- Men Seek Instruction From His Mouth (2:7)
- He Is The Lord’s Messenger (2:7).
Today, all Christians are priests of God (1 Pet. 2:5,9; Rev. 1:6). We offer up the sacrifice of self (Rom. 12:1). But, more than that, as Christians we should be bearing these marks God held up as needful for His priests. Reverence, integrity, honesty, truth-speaking, evangelism, influence, and example all should characterize us as we go about our daily lives. Yes, it is a true need for preachers to possess these traits, but it also needs to characterize each of us who have been redeemed by Christ. How are you doing in fulfilling your life’s spiritual purpose? Why not refer to these eight traits as a measuring line and a constant challenge to live on a higher plane?