The Mouth of A Priest
How Does Your Speech Represent the Lord?

By Mary E. Stephens

Malachai 2:7-9 For the priest's lips should keep knowledge, and they should seek the law at his mouth: for he is the messenger of the LORD of hosts. But ye are departed out of the way; ye have caused many to stumble at the law; ye have corrupted the covenant of Levi, saith the LORD of hosts. Therefore have I also made you contemptible and base before all the people, according as ye have not kept my ways, but have been partial in the law.

This is a very interesting passage of scripture. I'm sure some "men of God" would be quick to apply verse 7 to themselves; but then there are verses 8 and 9. :-)  There is a serious responsibility that goes with this.

Peter tells us in his epistle, But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light: 1 Peter 2:9 We are all of the royal priesthood now, and so this passage applies to every believer, though we know this passage specifically applies to the priests of Old Testament Israel.

Sad to say, many Christians do not know the word of God, so people cannot seek it at their mouth. Many think that "the preacher" or "the pastor" is "the messenger of the Lord." They run along "to church" on Sunday and get their little thimbleful of teaching, but they think they cannot understand the Bible for themselves and they certainly are not qualified to really feed others! Too often the pastors/preachers perpetuate this idea.

We see that as Christians have departed out of the way, they have caused people to stumble at the word of God. Men's traditions, standards, another gospel, modern theology and much more now hinder the word of God. At the same time, the Lord has allowed Christianity to lose the respect of the unsaved in many places where it enjoyed it before.

Though two young "preachers" in Texas beat a Mexican boy almost to death, many "great men of God" and other "Bible believing Christians" demanded that those two young men be released because "they won't do it again" or because they believe they were never guilty in the first place (though they actually were). Don't you think the world sees the partiality in that? The same people will cry out when "justice" is not done to some murderer or criminal, yet when it's one of our "darlings" it "isn't fair." Kent Hovind insists that he has a right to make lots of money and pay no taxes. The world doesn't appreciate that kind of double standard. To add insult to injury, these type of folks will complain because Christians and Christianity are no longer "respected" in America. Should that kind of Christianity be respected? According to the passage above it appears the Lord Himself is the One allowing it to become contemptible!

Speaking of Levi the son of Abraham, God said, Malachai 2:5 My covenant was with him of life and peace; and I gave them to him for the fear wherewith he feared me, and was afraid before my name. 6 The law of truth was in his mouth, and iniquity was not found in his lips: he walked with me in peace and equity, and did turn many away from iniquity.

Christian, do you fear the Lord? Or, do you fear the pastor, or the pastor's wife, or some other "leader of the church"? Are you afraid before God's name? Or do you honor the name of Jack Hyles, Lee Roberson, Phil Kidd, Bob Jones, Peter Ruckman, Billy Graham, Max Lucado, Rick Warren, Michael and Debi Pearl or any other notable preacher, musician, college, expert, etc.? Whose name do you revere? Is it Jesus Christ?

By the way, what do you allow others to say on your Facebook page or other social networks? You are responsible for your space.  One friend of mine, whenever some bad language comes up, simply makes the comment, "No bad language on my FB page, please. :-)"  They respect her; and if not, I'm sure she removes them or at least their comment.  You can do this too.  In fact, in the spirit of these verses, you need to!  It is your testimony that is at stake!  I can say from personal experience that it is hard to take a Christian seriously who allows obscenity and profanity on their Facebook page or, even worse, posts such things themselves!
Is the truth in your mouth? The truth as in God's word? John 17:17 Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth. You can only turn people away from iniquity through the word of God. And, that is your job, not "the preacher's". Every priest should be turning people away from iniquity, and in the New Testament, every believer is a priest! If every saint in the New Testament is responsible to know God's word and pass it on to others, and we have seen this to be true, then every saint would do well to Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. 2 Timothy 2:15 Do you really study God's word? Or is it "a chapter a day keeps the devil away" for you? Ok, so you read a chapter. That's a good start. Do you think about what you read or is a hurry-up-and-get-done duty so you can move on to something "more interesting"? Psalm 119:16 I will delight myself in thy statutes: I will not forget thy word.

In order to do this, iniquity must not be found in your mouth. How do you talk? Are the words of you mouth acceptable in the sight of the Lord? Ps. 19:14. Or is you talk polluted by the love of the world, profanity, and coarseness. People are inclined to think that it's "the preacher's job" to speak God's word, so he should keep his mouth clean but us peons don't matter. Paul told the whole church at Colosse, Let your speech be alway with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man. Colossians 4:6 That was to the whole church - every priest (saved person) among them - male and female, adult, youth and child.

Do you walk with God in peace and equity? Or is your life an exercise in agitation and confusion? Are you fair with the people around you?

This is not intended as an accusation. But, it is discouraging to see so many people who have been lulled into the delusion that these things belong to the "preachers", "men of God", and "Christian leaders." They do not. They are your responsibility. They are mine. And, God wants us to follow this pattern for good cause. Daniel 12:3 And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever.

Be wise. Know God's word - really know it. Then others may inquire of you and you can speak to them the words of the Lord, which will turn them to righteousness; instead of the words of men which have no eternal value nor true life changing power.

Philippians 2:14-16 Do all things without murmurings and disputings: That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world; Holding forth the word of life; that I may rejoice in the day of Christ, that I have not run in vain, neither laboured in vain.


background & graphics by Mary E. Stephens
edited 2022