This weeks blog by Hannah Nelson – Associate Pastor – Kids and Families
“The purpose of my covenant with the Levites was to bring life and peace, and that is what I gave them. This required reverence from them, and they greatly revered me and stood in awe of my name. They passed on to the people the truth of the instructions they received from me. They did not lie or cheat; they walked with me, living good and righteous lives, and they turned many from lives of sin.” Malachi 2:5-6
A couple of months ago our pastoral staff took a day “retreat” to reflect and pray, to sit quietly before God, and listen to His voice. We took time reading through book of Malachi, named for the author, a prophet in the Old Testament, who was sent as a messenger to the Jews who had resettled in Judea around 400 B.C. The above passage stood out to me. I read it over and over. I sketched about it. I thought about it.
God is often viewed as either a gift-giver, or a joy-killer. When we want something, we can ask for it and hope that God will send it to us. Or, when tragedy strikes, we cry out, “Why God?” But what I see here is a God who is in relationship with His people. He creates a covenant, a promise, with them. There is a give-and-take, if you will, in this relationship between God and the people of Israel. And while I could write about the significance of God promising, and fulfilling, life and peace to the Tribe of Levi, I want to focus on what was required of the Levites.
For this covenant to stand, the Levites must revere the name of God. They were to worship no other god or created thing (the First Commandment), to pass on the instruction they received, and turn from their sins. While these may seem like pretty simple requirements, living a life like this takes devotion, commitment, and grit. So then, I must ask myself, “Do I greatly revere God? Do things in my life like time, finances, activities, media reflect that my devotion to God is above all else?”. If I look at my weekly calendar would it show that my priority is the LORD? Am I still in awe of the name of God? Being in nature helps to remind me that I can’t take for granted how holy God is. When I stand on the shoreline of the Pacific, I see the endless ocean and miles of sand, and I am reminded of how vast and eternal God is. When I gaze up at the giant Sequoia, I remember that God is beyond my understanding, and can create with just His breath. When I see the variety of beautiful shades of skin tones on people around me, and around the world, I am reminded of how Christ unifies all of humanity in Himself.
But it gets harder…am I being faithful to pass on the instruction I have received from the Lord, and am I living a good a righteous life that would please God? Am I encouraging and helping others to turn away from sin? Let’s not forget what God assures the Levites in this covenant, to give life and peace. If I am faithfully passing on what has been taught to me, if I am walking with the LORD, then that “life and peace” should be what flows from me. Does my life spur others on to pursue God? Does my life help to bring peace and give life to others? Am I the messenger that God wants me to be? I want to help others find life and peace in Christ. LORD help me shine Your peace and life, help me to encourage, help me to be righteous…and the next day, help me to do it all again. Amen.