Focal Passage: Malachi 2:1-16
The pastor’s calling requires a commitment to lead God’s people. Like the Old Testament priests, the pastor should be a reliable source of biblical knowledge and instruction. If he turns from the Word, He too will be a stumbling block. Although the call to entertainment looms large in our society, pastors must embrace Paul’s words to Timothy to preach the word in any season, so God’s people will receive proper reproof, rebuke, and exhortation for both pastors and laymen (2 Timothy 4:2). This text reminds us that God’s people must maintain biblical expectations for their leaders and strive for the same standards in their own lives. After all, the only qualification for elders (1 Timothy 3:1-7) that is not expected of all believers is the ability to preach and teach.
When Christian leaders fall short of biblical demands, the family of God will feel the impact. As a child I received occasional warnings about disgracing the family name. My father wanted our family to be known as an upright and God-honoring family, so he would remind my sisters and me that our behavior was a reflection on our family’s reputation. The people of Judah despised both God and one another, profaning God’s covenant with them through unacceptable sacrifices and spiritual infidelity, and the priests didn’t stop them. When they departed from God’s covenant their definition of the family of God became greatly distorted. Similarly, when a local church fails to be faithful to the standards of the New Covenant, the spiritual family changes into a mixed multitude of believers and nonbelievers.
The spiritual health of God’s family is directly connected to the spiritual health of its biological families. The men of Malachi’s day divorced the wives of their youth and married unbelieving foreign women.
If we love God from the heart, we will keep our commitment to Him and the commitments we’ve made in His name. “Marriage is to be held in honor among all, and the marriage bed is to be undefiled; for fornicators and adulterers God will judge” (Hebrews 13:4).