Verse 1 – “And now, O priests, this commandment is for you.
Verse 2 – If you do not hear, and if you will not take it to heart, to give glory to My name,” says the LORD of hosts, “I will send a curse upon you and I will curse your blessings. Yes, I have cursed them already, because you do not take it to heart.
Does this sound harsh? Yes, but God warned them about their attitude towards Him and their behavior needed to change, because they were to represent Him to the people. The same goes for anyone who calls themselves a child of God. Worship should be heart-felt.
Verse 3 – “Behold, I will rebuke your descendants and spread refuse on your faces, the refuse of your solemn feasts; and one will take you away with it.
This spread of refuses on their faces, is the expression of great contempt. In other words – your feasts shall be as dung to Me. He would take them away as dung was taken outside the camp and disposed of.
Verse 4 – Then you shall know I have sent this commandment to you, that MY covenant with Levi may continue,” says the LORD of hosts.
Verse 5 – “My covenant was with him, one of life and peace, and I gave them to him that he might fear Me; so he feared Me and was reverent before MY name.
This covenant was not with Levi himself, but with Aaron, His representative, with whom the covenant was made in the desert, and whom succeeded him in his office.
Verse 6 – The law of truth was in his mouth, and injustice was not found on his lips. He walked with Me in peace and equity, and turned many away from iniquity.
Levi was the ancestor from the tribe of Levi, the tribe set apart for service. The Levites became God’s ministers, first in the tabernacle, then in the temple.
Verse 7 – “For the lips of a priest should keep knowledge, and people should seek the law from his mouth; for he is the messenger of the LORD of hosts.
Verse 8 – But you have departed from the way; you have caused many to stumble at the law. You have corrupted the covenant of Levi,” says the LORD of hosts.
The priests ignorance of God’s will was willful and inexcusable.
Verse 9 – “Therefore I also have made you contemptible and base before all the people, because you have not kept My ways but have shown partiality in the law.”
Playing favorites is contemptible in God’s sights. These priests showed favoritism to the wealthy and let them continue in their sin, because they were afraid to say anything to them.
Verse 10 – Have we not all one Father? Has not one God created us? Why do we deal treacherously with one another by profaning the covenant of the fathers?
The people hadn’t openly said that they rejected God, but how they were living made them look as though God didn’t exist. People acted as though they could do anything without being punished. Jesus must be LORD of all!
Verse 11 – Judah has dealt treacherously, and an abomination has been committed in Israel and in Jerusalem, for Judah has profaned the LORD’s holy institution which He loves: He has married the daughter of a foreign god.
Verse 12 – May the LORD cut off from the tents of Jacob the man who does this, being awake and aware, and who brings an offering to the LORD of hosts.
The most obvious way that Judah was violating the covenant was by intermarrying with women who worshiped foreign gods. Anyone who did this was cursed. However, they continued to offer sacrifices to God while continuing in their sin.
Verse 13 – And this is the second thing you do: You cover the altar of the LORD with tears, with weeping and crying; so He does not regard the offering anymore, nor receive it with good will from your hands.
Do people honestly think a little crying and sorrow with no intention of really changing is going to be pleasing to God?
Verse 14 – Yet you say, “For what reason?” Because the LORD has been witness between you and the wife of your youth, with whom you have dealt treacherously; yet she is your companion and your wife by covenant.
In order to marry pagan women, the Jews were divorcing their Jewish wives that they had entered into the covenant of marriage with, and yet continued to defile the sanctuary by offering sacrifices to God.
Verse 15 – But did He not make them one, having a remnant of the Spirit? And why one? He seeks godly offspring. Therefore take heed to your spirit, and let none deal treacherously with the wife of his youth.
Not only were the men divorcing their Jewish wives, but they were braking the spiritual bondage between a husband and wife, which their offspring would be brought up to love the LORD. God hates divorce.
Verse 16 – “For the LORD God of Israel says that He hates divorce, for it covers one’s garments with violence,” says the LORD of hosts. “Therefore take heed to your spirit, that you do not deal treacherously.”
How do you treat your spouse?
Verse 17 – You have wearied the LORD with your words; yet you say, “In what way have we wearied Him?” In that you say, “Everyone who does evil is good in the sight of the LORD, and He delights in them,” or, “Where is the God of justice?”
God was tired of the way people had cynically twisted His truths. They thought because God was silent, He approved of their actions or at least would never punish them. So many think the same way today. They think because nothing happens right away, they got by with their sin. God sees all and knows the intentions of the heart, so always do right, and then you won’t have anything to worry about.