And now, O you priests, this commandment is for you.…
And now, O ye priests, this commandment is for you, etc. The grand subject we gather from these words is spiritual reformation. "Now, O ye priests." The priests are specially addressed and reproved, for they, whose mission it was to raise the people to true worship and to holiness, led them into sin. Notice -
I. THE NATURE OF THE SPIRITUAL REFORMATION REQUIRED. "If ye will not hear, and if ye will not lay it to heart, to give glory unto my Name, saith the Lord of hosts." From this language it would appear that true spiritual reformation involves two things.
1. A practical application of the Word of God. There should be right attention to it. That Word is not only to be heard, earnestly listened to, but to be laid to heart, which means practical attention. It is to be applied to correct the wrong that is in us, and to generate and develop the true.
2. An entire dedication to the glory of God. "To give glory unto my Name: All genuine spiritual reformation is implied in this - right attention to the Divine Word, right application of the Divine Word, and an entire dedication to the glory of God. This is a reformation not of parchment but of principle, not of systems but of souls. It is in truth the only reformation worth having.
II. THE URGENCY OF THE SPIRITUAL REFORMATION REQUIRED. The neglect thereof incurs:
1. A curse. "I will even send a curse upon you, and I will curse your blessings." "I will curse your benedictions." Not the personal advantages and perquisites enjoyed by the priests, but the blessings they pronounced upon the people. The service had been merely formal without any sort of reverence in it; the blessings they uttered should retributively be evacuated of all efficacy and should be a mere formula" (Dr. Dods). What an awful thing to have blessings turned into curses I and yet if we are unregenerate and unrenewed this takes place by the very laws of our moral constitution. As hemlock turns even the sunbeam into poison, corrupt souls turn God's blessings into maledictions.
2. A rebuke. According to Keil, Ewald, and others, the expression, "Behold, I will corrupt your seed," should be, "Behold, I will rebuke your arms." Perhaps the idea is - I will wither your power, I will check the growth of your posterity. There is no true prosperity without spiritual reformation.
3. Contempt. "I will spread dung upon your faces, even the dung of your solemn feasts." "The dung in the maw of the victims sacrificed on the feast days. The maw was the perquisite of the priests (Deuteronomy 18:3), which gives peculiar point to the threat here. You shall get the dung of the maw as your perquisite instead of the maw. And one shall take you away with it, i.e. you shall be taken away with it, it shall cleave to you wherever you go" (Moore). "Dung shall be thrown in your faces, and ye shall be taken away, i.e. removed out of the way, as dung would be, dung begrimed as ye shall be (1 Kings 14:10; Jeremiah 16..4; 22:19)" (Fausset).
CONCLUSION. Are we the subjects of this spiritual reformation? Have we been renewed in the spirit of our minds? "Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again." - D.T.
Parallel VersesKJV: And now, O ye priests, this commandment is for you.