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Acceptable Worship and Service

A devotional by InTouch Ministries for reading on February 13th

Malachi 2:1-9 Chapter 2 1 And now, O ye priests, this commandment is for you. 2 If ye will not hear, and if ye will not lay it to heart, to give glory unto my name, saith Jehovah of hosts, then will I send the curse upon you, and I will curse your blessings; yea, I have cursed them already, because ye do not lay it to heart. 3 Behold, I will rebuke your seed, and will spread dung upon your faces, even the dung of your feasts; and ye shall be taken away with it. 4 And ye shall know that I have sent this commandment unto you, that my covenant may be with Levi, saith Jehovah of hosts. 5 My covenant was with him of life and peace; and I gave them to him that he might fear; and he feared me, and stood in awe of my name. 6 The law of truth was in his mouth, and unrighteousness was not found in his lips: he walked with me in peace and uprightness, and turned many away from iniquity. 7 For the priest's lips should keep knowledge, and they should seek the law at his mouth; for he is the messenger of Jehovah of hosts. 8 But ye are turned aside out of the way; ye have caused many to stumble in the law; ye have corrupted the covenant of Levi, saith Jehovah of hosts. 9 Therefore have I also made you contemptible and base before all the people, according as ye have not kept my ways, but have had respect of persons in the law.

Malachi delivered a hard message to the priests of Israel. Many years earlier the Lord had chosen the descendants of Levi to have charge of the temple service and to instruct the people. This sacred duty was an honor—it should have caused them to stand in awe of the Lord and serve Him with fear and reverence. But in Malachi’s day the priests had dishonored Him with their attitudes and actions.

At first glance, it may seem that this Old Testament passage has nothing to do with us, but as believers in Christ, we are a holy priesthood who offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God ( 1 Peter 2:5 5 ye also, as living stones, are built up a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. ). This truth should cause us to pause and consider whether we are fulfilling this sacred duty with the right attitudes and actions. The failures of the priests in Malachi 2 Chapter 2 1 And now, O ye priests, this commandment is for you. 2 If ye will not hear, and if ye will not lay it to heart, to give glory unto my name, saith Jehovah of hosts, then will I send the curse upon you, and I will curse your blessings; yea, I have cursed them already, because ye do not lay it to heart. 3 Behold, I will rebuke your seed, and will spread dung upon your faces, even the dung of your feasts; and ye shall be taken away with it. 4 And ye shall know that I have sent this commandment unto you, that my covenant may be with Levi, saith Jehovah of hosts. 5 My covenant was with him of life and peace; and I gave them to him that he might fear; and he feared me, and stood in awe of my name. 6 The law of truth was in his mouth, and unrighteousness was not found in his lips: he walked with me in peace and uprightness, and turned many away from iniquity. 7 For the priest's lips should keep knowledge, and they should seek the law at his mouth; for he is the messenger of Jehovah of hosts. 8 But ye are turned aside out of the way; ye have caused many to stumble in the law; ye have corrupted the covenant of Levi, saith Jehovah of hosts. 9 Therefore have I also made you contemptible and base before all the people, according as ye have not kept my ways, but have had respect of persons in the law. 10 Have we not all one father? hath not one God created us? why do we deal treacherously every man against his brother, profaning the covenant of our fathers? 11 Judah hath dealt treacherously, and an abomination is committed in Israel and in Jerusalem; for Judah hath profaned the holiness of Jehovah which he loveth, and hath married the daughter of a foreign god. 12 Jehovah will cut off, to the man that doeth this, him that waketh and him that answereth, out of the tents of Jacob, and him that offereth an offering unto Jehovah of hosts. 13 And this again ye do: ye cover the altar of Jehovah with tears, with weeping, and with sighing, insomuch that he regardeth not the offering any more, neither receiveth it with good will at your hand. 14 Yet ye say, Wherefore? Because Jehovah hath been witness between thee and the wife of thy youth, against whom thou hast dealt treacherously, though she is thy companion, and the wife of thy covenant. 15 And did he not make one, although he had the residue of the Spirit? And wherefore one? He sought a godly seed. Therefore take heed to your spirit, and let none deal treacherously against the wife of his youth. 16 For I hate putting away, saith Jehovah, the God of Israel, and him that covereth his garment with violence, saith Jehovah of hosts: therefore take heed to your spirit, that ye deal not treacherously. 17 Ye have wearied Jehovah with your words. Yet ye say, Wherein have we wearied him? In that ye say, Every one that doeth evil is good in the sight of Jehovah, and he delighteth in them; or where is the God of justice? warn us of attitudes that will lead us down the path of irreverence and disobedience.

First, the priests dishonored God’s name by serving Him in a careless manner and offering unacceptable sacrifices. (See Mal. 2:1-3.)

• Second, they were ungrateful for God’s covenant, which gave them close access to Him through their priestly service. (See Mal. 2:4-6.)

• Third, they didn’t preserve knowledge of God’s Word but led people astray with their instructions. (See Mal. 2:7-9.)

Since we are now God’s holy priesthood, we must ask ourselves if we have dishonored His name with careless worship, ingratitude, or a failure to uphold His truth as revealed in Scripture. Salvation is a marvelous blessing, but it comes with responsibilities. Our worship and service are acceptable only if they are offered according to God’s desires and standards—not ours.

Bible in One Year: Numbers 14-16 Chapter 14 1 And all the congregation lifted up their voice, and cried; and the people wept that night. 2 And all the children of Israel murmured against Moses and against Aaron: and the whole congregation said unto them, Would that we had died in the land of Egypt! or would that we had died in this wilderness! 3 And wherefore doth Jehovah bring us unto this land, to fall by the sword? Our wives and our little ones will be a prey: were it not better for us to return into Egypt? 4 And they said one to another, Let us make a captain, and let us return into Egypt. 5 Then Moses and Aaron fell on their faces before all the assembly of the congregation of the children of Israel. 6 And Joshua the son of Nun and Caleb the son of Jephunneh, who were of them that spied out the land, rent their clothes: 7 and they spake unto all the congregation of the children of Israel, saying, The land, which we passed through to spy it out, is an exceeding good land. 8 If Jehovah delight in us, then he will bring us into this land, and give it unto us; a land which floweth with milk and honey. 9 Only rebel not against Jehovah, neither fear ye the people of the land; for they are bread for us: their defence is removed from over them, and Jehovah is with us: fear them not. 10 But all the congregation bade stone them with stones. And the glory of Jehovah appeared in the tent of meeting unto all the children of Israel. 11 And Jehovah said unto Moses, How long will this people despise me? and how long will they not believe in me, for all the signs which I have wrought among them? 12 I will smite them with the pestilence, and disinherit them, and will make of thee a nation greater and mightier than they. 13 And Moses said unto Jehovah, Then the Egyptians will hear it; for thou broughtest up this people in thy might from among them; 14 and they will tell it to the inhabitants of this land. They have heard that thou Jehovah art in the midst of this people; for thou Jehovah art seen face to face, and thy cloud standeth over them, and thou goest before them, in a pillar of cloud by day, and in a pillar of fire by night. 15 Now if thou shalt kill this people as one man, then the nations which have heard the fame of thee will speak, saying, 16 Because Jehovah was not able to bring this people into the land which he sware unto them, therefore he hath slain them in the wilderness. 17 And now, I pray thee, let the power of the Lord be great, according as thou hast spoken, saying, 18 Jehovah is slow to anger, and abundant in lovingkindness, forgiving iniquity and transgression; and that will by no means clear `the guilty', visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, upon the third and upon the fourth generation. 19 Pardon, I pray thee, the iniquity of this people according unto the greatness of thy lovingkindness, and according as thou hast forgiven this people, from Egypt even until now. 20 And Jehovah said, I have pardoned according to thy word: 21 but in very deed, as I live, and as all the earth shall be filled with the glory of Jehovah; 22 because all those men that have seen my glory, and my signs, which I wrought in Egypt and in the wilderness, yet have tempted me these ten times, and have not hearkened to my voice; 23 surely they shall not see the land which I sware unto their fathers, neither shall any of them that despised me see it: 24 but my servant Caleb, because he had another spirit with him, and hath followed me fully, him will I bring into the land whereinto he went; and his seed shall possess it. 25 Now the Amalekite and the Canaanite dwell in the valley: to-morrow turn ye, and get you into the wilderness by the way to the Red Sea. 26 And Jehovah spake unto Moses and unto Aaron, saying, 27 How long `shall I bear' with this evil congregation, that murmur against me? I have heard the murmurings of the children of Israel, which they murmur against me. 28 Say unto them, As I live, saith Jehovah, surely as ye have spoken in mine ears, so will I do to you: 29 your dead bodies shall fall in this wilderness; and all that were numbered of you, according to your whole number, from twenty years old and upward, that have murmured against me, 30 surely ye shall not come into the land, concerning which I sware that I would make you dwell therein, save Caleb the son of Jephunneh, and Joshua the son of Nun. 31 But your little ones, that ye said should be a prey, them will I bring in, and they shall know the land which ye have rejected. 32 But as for you, your dead bodies shall fall in this wilderness. 33 And your children shall be wanderers in the wilderness forty years, and shall bear your whoredoms, until your dead bodies be consumed in the wilderness. 34 After the number of the days in which ye spied out the land, even forty days, for every day a year, shall ye bear your iniquities, even forty years, and ye shall know my alienation. 35 I, Jehovah, have spoken, surely this will I do unto all this evil congregation, that are gathered together against me: in this wilderness they shall be consumed, and there they shall die. 36 And the men, whom Moses sent to spy out the land, who returned, and made all the congregation to murmur against him, by bringing up an evil report against the land, 37 even those men that did bring up an evil report of the land, died by the plague before Jehovah. 38 But Joshua the son of Nun, and Caleb the son of Jephunneh, remained alive of those men that went to spy out the land. 39 And Moses told these words unto all the children of Israel: and the people mourned greatly. 40 And they rose up early in the morning, and gat them up to the top of the mountain, saying, Lo, we are here, and will go up unto the place which Jehovah hath promised: for we have sinned. 41 And Moses said, Wherefore now do ye transgress the commandment of Jehovah, seeing it shall not prosper? 42 Go not up, for Jehovah is not among you; that ye be not smitten down before your enemies. 43 For there the Amalekite and the Canaanite are before you, and ye shall fall by the sword: because ye are turned back from following Jehovah, therefore Jehovah will not be with you. 44 But they presumed to go up to the top of the mountain: nevertheless the ark of the covenant of Jehovah, and Moses, departed not out of the camp. 45 Then the Amalekite came down, and the Canaanite who dwelt in that mountain, and smote them and beat them down, even unto Hormah. Chapter 15 1 And Jehovah spake unto Moses, saying, 2 Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, When ye are come into the land of your habitations, which I give unto you, 3 and will make an offering by fire unto Jehovah, a burnt-offering, or a sacrifice, to accomplish a vow, or as a freewill-offering, or in your set feasts, to make a sweet savor unto Jehovah, of the herd, or of the flock; 4 then shall he that offereth his oblation offer unto Jehovah a meal-offering of a tenth part `of an ephah' of fine flour mingled with the fourth part of a hin of oil: 5 and wine for the drink-offering, the fourth part of a hin, shalt thou prepare with the burnt-offering, or for the sacrifice, for each lamb. 6 Or for a ram, thou shalt prepare for a meal-offering two tenth parts `of an ephah' of fine flour mingled with the third part of a hin of oil: 7 and for the drink-offering thou shalt offer the third part of a hin of wine, of a sweet savor unto Jehovah. 8 And when thou preparest a bullock for a burnt-offering, or for a sacrifice, to accomplish a vow, or for peace-offerings unto Jehovah; 9 then shall he offer with the bullock a meal-offering of three tenth parts `of an ephah' of fine flour mingled with half a hin of oil: 10 and thou shalt offer for the drink-offering half a hin of wine, for an offering made by fire, of a sweet savor unto Jehovah. 11 Thus shall it be done for each bullock, or for each ram, or for each of the he-lambs, or of the kids. 12 According to the number that ye shall prepare, so shall ye do to every one according to their number. 13 All that are home-born shall do these things after this manner, in offering an offering made by fire, of a sweet savor unto Jehovah. 14 And if a stranger sojourn with you, or whosoever may be among you throughout your generations, and will offer an offering made by fire, of a sweet savor unto Jehovah; as ye do, so he shall do. 15 For the assembly, there shall be one statute for you, and for the stranger that sojourneth `with you', a statute for ever throughout your generations: as ye are, so shall the sojourner be before Jehovah. 16 One law and one ordinance shall be for you, and for the stranger that sojourneth with you. 17 And Jehovah spake unto Moses, saying, 18 Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, When ye come into the land whither I bring you, 19 then it shall be, that, when ye eat of the bread of the land, ye shall offer up a heave-offering unto Jehovah. 20 Of the first of your dough ye shall offer up a cake for a heave-offering: as the heave-offering of the threshing-floor, so shall ye heave it. 21 Of the first of your dough ye shall give unto Jehovah a heave-offering throughout your generations. 22 And when ye shall err, and not observe all these commandments, which Jehovah hath spoken unto Moses, 23 even all that Jehovah hath commanded you by Moses, from the day that Jehovah gave commandment, and onward throughout your generations; 24 then it shall be, if it be done unwittingly, without the knowledge of the congregation, that all the congregation shall offer one young bullock for a burnt-offering, for a sweet savor unto Jehovah, with the meal-offering thereof, and the drink-offering thereof, according to the ordinance, and one he-goat for a sin-offering. 25 And the priest shall make atonement for all the congregation of the children of Israel, and they shall be forgiven; for it was an error, and they have brought their oblation, an offering made by fire unto Jehovah, and their sin-offering before Jehovah, for their error: 26 and all the congregation of the children of Israel shall be forgiven, and the stranger that sojourneth among them; for in respect of all the people it was done unwittingly. 27 And if one person sin unwittingly, then he shall offer a she-goat a year old for a sin-offering. 28 And the priest shall make atonement for the soul that erreth, when he sinneth unwittingly, before Jehovah, to make atonement for him; and he shall be forgiven. 29 Ye shall have one law for him that doeth aught unwittingly, for him that is home-born among the children of Israel, and for the stranger that sojourneth among them. 30 But the soul that doeth aught with a high hand, whether he be home-born or a sojourner, the same blasphemeth Jehovah; and that soul shall be cut off from among his people. 31 Because he hath despised the word of Jehovah, and hath broken his commandment, that soul shall utterly be cut off; his iniquity shall be upon him. 32 And while the children of Israel were in the wilderness, they found a man gathering sticks upon the sabbath day. 33 And they that found him gathering sticks brought him unto Moses and Aaron, and unto all the congregation. 34 And they put him in ward, because it had not been declared what should be done to him. 35 And Jehovah said unto Moses, The man shall surely be put to death: all the congregation shall stone him with stones without the camp. 36 And all the congregation brought him without the camp, and stoned him to death with stones; as Jehovah commanded Moses. 37 And Jehovah spake unto Moses, saying, 38 Speak unto the children of Israel, and bid them that they make them fringes in the borders of their garments throughout their generations, and that they put upon the fringe of each border a cord of blue: 39 and it shall be unto you for a fringe, that ye may look upon it, and remember all the commandments of Jehovah, and do them; and that ye follow not after your own heart and your own eyes, after which ye use to play the harlot; 40 that ye may remember and do all my commandments, and be holy unto your God. 41 I am Jehovah your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, to be your God: I am Jehovah your God. Chapter 16 1 Now Korah, the son of Izhar, the son of Kohath, the son of Levi, with Dathan and Abiram, the sons of Eliab, and On, the son of Peleth, sons of Reuben, took `men': 2 and they rose up before Moses, with certain of the children of Israel, two hundred and fifty princes of the congregation, called to the assembly, men of renown; 3 and they assembled themselves together against Moses and against Aaron, and said unto them, Ye take too much upon you, seeing all the congregation are holy, every one of them, and Jehovah is among them: wherefore then lift ye up yourselves above the assembly of Jehovah? 4 And when Moses heard it, he fell upon his face: 5 and he spake unto Korah and unto all his company, saying, In the morning Jehovah will show who are his, and who is holy, and will cause him to come near unto him: even him whom he shall choose will he cause to come near unto him. 6 This do: take you censers, Korah, and all his company; 7 and put fire in them, and put incense upon them before Jehovah to-morrow: and it shall be that the man whom Jehovah doth choose, he `shall be' holy: ye take too much upon you, ye sons of Levi. 8 And Moses said unto Korah, Hear now, ye sons of Levi: 9 `seemeth it but' a small thing unto you, that the God of Israel hath separated you from the congregation of Israel, to bring you near to himself, to do the service of the tabernacle of Jehovah, and to stand before the congregation to minister unto them; 10 and that he hath brought thee near, and all thy brethren the sons of Levi with thee? and seek ye the priesthood also? 11 Therefore thou and all thy company are gathered together against Jehovah: and Aaron, what is he that ye murmur against him? 12 And Moses sent to call Dathan and Abiram, the sons of Eliab; and they said, We will not come up: 13 is it a small thing that thou hast brought us up out of a land flowing with milk and honey, to kill us in the wilderness, but thou must needs make thyself also a prince over us? 14 Moreover thou hast not brought us into a land flowing with milk and honey, nor given us inheritance of fields and vineyards: wilt thou put out the eyes of these men? we will not come up. 15 And Moses was very wroth, and said unto Jehovah, Respect not thou their offering: I have not taken one ass from them, neither have I hurt one of them. 16 And Moses said unto Korah, Be thou and all thy company before Jehovah, thou, and they, and Aaron, to-morrow: 17 and take ye every man his censer, and put incense upon them, and bring ye before Jehovah every man his censer, two hundred and fifty censers; thou also, and Aaron, each his censer. 18 And they took every man his censer, and put fire in them, and laid incense thereon, and stood at the door of the tent of meeting with Moses and Aaron. 19 And Korah assembled all the congregation against them unto the door of the tent of meeting: and the glory of Jehovah appeared unto all the congregation. 20 And Jehovah spake unto Moses and unto Aaron, saying, 21 Separate yourselves from among this congregation, that I may consume them in a moment. 22 And they fell upon their faces, and said, O God, the God of the spirits of all flesh, shall one man sin, and wilt thou be wroth with all the congregation? 23 And Jehovah spake unto Moses, saying, 24 Speak unto the congregation, saying, Get you up from about the tabernacle of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram. 25 And Moses rose up and went unto Dathan and Abiram; and the elders of Israel followed him. 26 And he spake unto the congregation, saying, Depart, I pray you, from the tents of these wicked men, and touch nothing of theirs, lest ye be consumed in all their sins. 27 So they gat them up from the tabernacle of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram, on every side: and Dathan and Abiram came out, and stood at the door of their tents, and their wives, and their sons, and their little ones. 28 And Moses said, Hereby ye shall know that Jehovah hath sent me to do all these works; for `I have' not `done them' of mine own mind. 29 If these men die the common death of all men, or if they be visited after the visitation of all men; then Jehovah hath not sent me. 30 But if Jehovah make a new thing, and the ground open its mouth, and swallow them up, with all that appertain unto them, and they go down alive into Sheol; then ye shall understand that these men have despised Jehovah. 31 And it came to pass, as he made an end of speaking all these words, that the ground clave asunder that was under them; 32 and the earth opened its mouth, and swallowed them up, and their households, and all the men that appertained unto Korah, and all their goods. 33 So they, and all that appertained to them, went down alive into Sheol: and the earth closed upon them, and they perished from among the assembly. 34 And all Israel that were round about them fled at the cry of them; for they said, Lest the earth swallow us up. 35 And fire came forth from Jehovah, and devoured the two hundred and fifty men that offered the incense. 36 And Jehovah spake unto Moses, saying, 37 Speak unto Eleazar the son of Aaron the priest, that he take up the censers out of the burning, and scatter thou the fire yonder; for they are holy, 38 even the censers of these sinners against their own lives; and let them be made beaten plates for a covering of the altar: for they offered them before Jehovah; therefore they are holy; and they shall be a sign unto the children of Israel. 39 And Eleazar the priest took the brazen censers, which they that were burnt had offered; and they beat them out for a covering of the altar, 40 to be a memorial unto the children of Israel, to the end that no stranger, that is not of the seed of Aaron, come near to burn incense before Jehovah; that he be not as Korah, and as his company: as Jehovah spake unto him by Moses. 41 But on the morrow all the congregation of the children of Israel murmured against Moses and against Aaron, saying, Ye have killed the people of Jehovah. 42 And it came to pass, when the congregation was assembled against Moses and against Aaron, that they looked toward the tent of meeting: and, behold, the cloud covered it, and the glory of Jehovah appeared. 43 And Moses and Aaron came to the front of the tent of meeting. 44 And Jehovah spake unto Moses, saying, 45 Get you up from among this congregation, that I may consume them in a moment. And they fell upon their faces. 46 And Moses said unto Aaron, Take they censer, and put fire therein from off the altar, and lay incense thereon, and carry it quickly unto the congregation, and make atonement for them: for there is wrath gone out from Jehovah; the plague is begun. 47 And Aaron took as Moses spake, and ran into the midst of the assembly; and, behold, the plague was begun among the people: and he put on the incense, and made atonement for the people. 48 And he stood between the dead and the living; and the plague was stayed. 49 Now they that died by the plague were fourteen thousand and seven hundred, besides them that died about the matter of Korah. 50 And Aaron returned unto Moses unto the door of the tent of meeting: and the plague was stayed.




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