Ezek. 44: 23
And they shall teach my people the difference between the holy and the unholy, and cause them to discern between unclean and clean.
The Prophet Ezekiel is shown in a vision, Godís glorious new temple. Somewhere in the mix, while Israel wondered far from Godís chosen path, the levitical priest, some not all, went astray. They followed after idols, serving the people in the presence of their false gods causing Israel to fall into sin.
To the priests that went astray the consequences of their sin were fatal to their spiritual lives. They were now forbidden to minister to the Lord. Their duties in the temple remained the same, cleaning and caring for Godís house, as well as serving and standing before the people. They could minister as before, Just not to God!
The sons of Zadok were the priest who had remained faithful. Now set apart to minister to the Lord they must live their lives as a holy duty with strict rules laid out, concerning every area of their lives. What to wear, what to eat, marriages, and even how they wore their hair. Theyíre business was church government, preaching and teaching Godís people how to discern what is clean living vs unclean living.
The role of the temple priest was much like that of our pastors and teachers today, caretakers of the Lordís work. The business of church affairs and caring for the things of God go all the way back to the time of Moses when God set up His House. Every minute of every day they were accountable to God for the way they lived their lives. Why? To look good in front of the people? Hardly not, but the people did have a huge part in it. In verse 23 it says, (paraphase) The job of the priest is to teach MY people how to discern,
(key word) what is clean and unclean living.
These leaders had to live in such a way that their own judgment to discern, was not clouded by anything unholy. Discernment is the ability to perceive with a view to obtaining spiritual direction and understanding. To be able to cut through the chase and see what others canít see or donít want you to see, takes a ready heart. One that has been prepared, while in ministry to the Lord. There are times when unresolved sin blinds us and keeps us back from all the blessings God has for us. Its then the ability to discern comes in and puts a finger right on the problem.
So was God being hard on His leaders, then and now? I donít think so.. As we take more time to study Godís word weíll SEE more clearly the reason behind the rules. And with more insight into such matters we will gain a better understanding into the heart of God. May we as Godís chosen people, NEVER have to hear the Lord say... You can minister, but not to me! May it never be so, Lord Jesus, may it never be so!
Lord Jesus, your word never ceases to amaze me. For in it I find You. Your ways have reason and your reason has heart. I pray for your church leaders whose lives are set apart by you and for you. I ask that you grant them a discerning heart by which they can care lovingly, for your bride. Give them a heart that judges wisely, understanding that judgment must start in the house of God. For the betterment of your people. And help your church to understand that your word is more then just rules or instructions. Its a gift from your own heart. You gave your life that we might live and your word that we might know you!
Thank you for your sacrificial, unfailing love!
I love you with all my heart!