Malachi 2

1“Priests, this rule is for you! 2Listen to me! Pay attention to the things I say! Show honor to my name! If you don’t respect my name, then bad things will happen to you. You will say blessings, but they will become curses. I will make bad things happen because you don’t show respect for my name!” The Lord All-Powerful said these things. 3“Look, I will punish your descendants. During the holidays, you priests offer sacrifices to me. You take the dung and inside parts from the dead animals, and throw those parts away. But I will smear that dung on your faces, and you will be thrown away with it! 4Then you will learn why I am giving you this command. I am telling you these things so my Agreement with Levi will continue.” The Lord All-Powerful said these things. 5˻The Lord said,˼ “I made that Agreement with Levi. I promised to give him life and peace—and I gave those things to him! Levi respected me! He showed honor to my name! 6Levi taught the true teachings. Levi didn’t teach lies! Levi was honest and he loved peace. Levi followed me and saved many people from being punished for the bad things they did. 7A priest should know God’s teachings. People should be able to go to a priest and learn God’s teachings. A priest should be God’s messenger to the people.” 8˻The Lord said,˼ “But you priests stopped following me! You used the teachings to make people do wrong. You ruined the Agreement with Levi!” The Lord All-Powerful said these things! 9“You don’t live the way I told you! You have not accepted my teachings! So I will make you become not important—people will not respect you!” 10We all have the same father ˻(God)˼. The same God made every one of us! So why do people cheat their brothers? Those people show that they don’t respect the Agreement. They don’t respect the Agreement that our ancestors made with God. 11The people of Judah cheated other people. People in Jerusalem and Israel did terrible things! God loves the temple. But the people in Judah didn’t respect the Lord’s holy temple. The people of Judah began to worship that foreign goddess! 12The Lord will remove those people from Judah’s family. Those people might bring gifts to the Lord—but it will not help. 13You can cry and cover the Lord’s altar with tears, but the Lord will not accept your gifts. The Lord will not be pleased with the things you bring to him. 14You ask, “Why are our gifts not accepted by the Lord?” Why? Because the Lord saw the bad things you did—he is a witness against you. He saw you cheat on your wife. You have been married to that woman since you were young. She was your girlfriend. Then you made your vows to each other—and she became your wife. ˻But you cheated on her˼. 15God wants husbands and wives to become one body and one spirit. Why? So they would have holy children. So protect that spiritual unity. Don’t cheat on your wife. She has been your wife from the time you were young. 16The Lord God of Israel says, “I hate divorce. And I hate the cruel things that men do. So protect your spiritual unity. Don’t cheat on your wife.” 17You have taught wrong things. And those wrong teachings made the Lord very sad. You taught that God likes people that do bad things. You said God thinks those people are good. And you taught that God does not punish people for doing bad things.

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