But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. 1 Peter 2:9
Scripture calls you a priest of God, dear one. Do you think of yourself that way? Do you even know what it means?
Peter’s words in our opening scripture echo God’s to Moses in Exodus 19:5-6.
“’Now therefore, if you will indeed obey my voice and keep my covenant, you shall be my treasured possession among all peoples, for all the earth is mine; and you shall be to me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.”
From the beginning, God has sought to create for Himself a kingdom of priests. Perhaps you noticed the contingency mentioned in verse 5. If. We tend to treat God’s promises as though they’re all automatic. I think God would like us to notice our role in bringing them to fruition.
…if you will indeed obey my voice and keep my covenant, you shall be my treasured possession among all peoples.
I can’t help thinking of God’s words over Jesus on the mount of transfiguration.
And a voice came out of the cloud, saying, “This is my Son, my Chosen One; listen to him!” Luke 9:35
Throughout scripture, God promises blessing to those who listen to Him. And Jesus came as the Word made flesh, calling all people to follow Him. Those truths leave me struggling to understand how so many professing Christians believe we can ignore God’s Word and still expect His blessing,
We shout grace as our justification. We’re taught that God treasures and loves us regardless of how we behave. We are, after all, His royal priesthood, saved by grace.
But God declared this message to His priests in Malachi 2.
“And now, O priests, this command is for you. If you will not listen, if you will not take it to heart to give honor to my name, says the Lord of hosts, then I will send the curse upon you and I will curse your blessings. Indeed, I have already cursed them, because you do not lay it to heart. Verses 1-2
I’m guessing those verses might make you a little uncomfortable. We don’t want to picture our God of grace cursing the blessings of His own people. And yet, there it is in black and white. God disciplines His children who refuse to listen to Him. When we reject His Word, we reject His blessing.
Dear one, we cannot separate the God of the Old Testament and the God of the New. “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever” (Hebrews 13:8). Right here in the book of Malachi, God confirms His unchanging nature.
“For I the Lord do not change; therefore you, O children of Jacob, are not consumed. From the days of your fathers you have turned aside from my statutes and have not kept them. Return to me, and I will return to you, says the Lord of hosts. Malachi 3:6-7
God’s blessing departs from His people when we cease to honor and obey His Word. But He also promises that whenever we repent and return to Him, the blessing that flows from Him will return to us.
Like in the days of Malachi, God calls us to return to the sanctity of our covenant with Him. He describes that covenant with His original priest, Levi, in Malachi 2:5-6.
My covenant with him was one of life and peace, and I gave them to him. It was a covenant of fear, and he feared me. He stood in awe of my name. True instruction was in his mouth, and no wrong was found on his lips. He walked with me in peace and uprightness, and he turned many from iniquity.
Behold the true priest of the Word, dear one. Humbled by the awe of God, he fears Him and lives his life according to His Word. Life and peace follow him, because God is near. God’s Word is in his mouth and on his tongue, and he turns many from their sin.
Do those words describe you, dear one? Do the Father’s eyes rest upon you with joy because your life reveals your position in His kingdom of priests?
For the lips of a priest should guard knowledge, and people should seek instruction from his mouth, for he is the messenger of the Lord of hosts. Verse 7
Blessing flows to the one who hears the Word of the Lord and follows.
Lord, empower us to live worthy of the calling we have received. You have consecrated us, sanctified us, and set us apart for your kingdom purpose. Forgive us for living for ourselves instead of for You. Ignite Your Word in our hearts and give us the faith to live by it, turning many from iniquity. May we stand in awe of You, living lives that reveal Your glory.
Dear Father, raise Your kingdom of priests.