* Danger of favoritism
In Joseph’s day, everyone had a robe or cloak. Robes were used to warm oneself, to bundle up belongings for a trip, to wrap babies, to sit on, or even to serve as security for a loan. Most robes were knee length, short sleeved, and plain. In contrast, Joseph’s robe was probably of the kind worn by royalty–long sleeved, ankle length, and colorful. The robe became a symbol of Jacob’s favoritism toward Joseph, and it aggravated the already strained relations between Joseph and his brothers. Favoritism in families may be unavoidable, but its divisive effects should be minimized. Parents may not be able to change their feelings toward a favorite child, but they can change their actions toward the others. (NLT)
Genesis 37:3 – Now Jacob loved Joseph more than any of his other children because Joseph had been born to him in his old age. So one day he gave Joseph a special gift—a beautiful robe.
* Favoritism reveals a double standard
The priests had allowed influential and favored people to break the law. The priests were so dependent on these people for support that they could not afford to confront them when they did wrong. In your church, are certain people allowed to do wrong without criticism? There should be no double standard based on wealth or position. Let your standards be those presented in God’s Word. Playing favorites is contemptible in God’s sight. (NLT)
Malachi 2:9 – “So I have made you despised and humiliated in the eyes of all the people. For you have not obeyed me but have shown partiality in your interpretation of the law.
* Playing favorites, favoritism, is contemptible in God’s sight
God warned the priests that if they did not honor his name, he would punish them. Like these priests, we, too, are called to honor God’s name—to worship him. This means acknowledging God for who he is—the almighty Creator of the universe, who alone is perfect and who reaches down to sinful people with perfect love. According to this definition, are you honoring God’s name?
The priests didn’t take seriously God’s priority, even though he had reminded them through his word many times. How do you find out what is most important to God? Begin by loving him with all your heart, soul, and strength. This means listening to what God says in his Word and then setting your heart, mind, and will on doing what he says. When we love God, his Word becomes a shining light that guides our daily activities. The priests in Malachi’s day had stopped loving God, and thus they did not know nor care what he wanted.
Levi “walked with [God],” and “turned many from lives of sin.” Levi was the ancestor of the tribe of Levites, the tribe set apart for service to God. The Levites became God’s ministers, first in the Tabernacle, then in the Temple. In these verses, God was addressing the priests who were from this tribe, admonishing them for corrupting the laws he gave their ancestor Levi and not following his example.
Malachi was angry at the priests because, although they were to be God’s messengers, they did not know God’s will. And this lack of knowledge caused them to lead God’s people astray. Their ignorance was willful and inexcusable. Pastors and leaders of God’s people must know god’s Word—what it says, what it means, and how it applies to daily life. How much time do you spend in God’s Word? (NLT)
“Listen, you priests; this command is for you! Listen to me and take it to heart. Honor my name,” says the Lord Almighty, “or I will bring a terrible curse against you. I will curse even the blessings you receive. Indeed, I have already cursed them, because you have not taken my warning seriously. I will rebuke your descendants and splatter your faces with the dung of your festival sacrifices, and I will add you to the dung heap. Then at last you will know it was I who sent you this warning so that my covenant with the Levites may continue,” says the Lord Almighty.
“The purpose of my covenant with the Levites was to bring life and peace, and this is what I gave them. This called for reverence from them, and they greatly revered me and stood in awe of my name. They passed on to the people all the truth 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. The priests’ lips should guard knowledge, and people should go to them for instruction, for the priests are the messengers of the Lord Almighty. But not you! You have left God’s paths. Your ‘guidance’ has caused many to stumble into sin. You have corrupted the covenant I made with the Levites,” says the Lord Almighty. “So I have made you despised and humiliated in the eyes of all the people. For you have not obeyed me but have shown partiality in your interpretation of the law.
* Show no favoritism among people
Why is it wrong to judge a person by his or her economic status? Wealth may indicate intelligence, wise decisions, and hard work. On the other hand, it may only mean that a person had the good fortune of being born into a wealthy family. Or it may be the sign of greed, dishonesty, or selfishness. By honoring someone just because he or she dresses well, we are making appearance more important than character. Sometimes we do this because (1) poverty makes us uncomfortable; we don’t want to face our responsibilities to those who have less than we do; (2) we want to be wealthy, too, and hope to use the rich person as a means to that end; (3) we want the rich person to join our church and help support it financially. All these motives are selfish, stemming from the view that we are superior to the poor person. If we say that Christ is our Lord, then we must live as he requires, showing no favoritism and loving all people regardless of whether they are rich or poor. (NLT)
James 2:2-4 – For instance, suppose someone comes into your meeting dressed in fancy clothes and expensive jewelry, and another comes in who is poor and dressed in shabby clothes. If you give special attention and a good seat to the rich person, but you say to the poor one, “You can stand over there, or else sit on the floor”–well, doesn’t this discrimination show that you are guided by wrong motives?
* Why it is wrong to show favoritism
(1) It is inconsistent with Christ’s teachings. (2) It results from evil thoughts. (3) It insults people made in God’s image. (4) It is a by-product of selfish motives. (5) It goes against the biblical definition of love. (6) It shows a lack of mercy to those less fortunate. (7) It is hypocritical. (8) It is a sin. (NLT)
For more Helpful Inspirational Material:
OBEDIENCE, OBEY: https://helpfulinspirationalblog.wordpress.com/obedience-obey/
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