WISDOM FOR LIVING DAILY DEVOTIONAL
AUGUST 11TH, 2021
TOPIC: DON’T DEPART FROM THE WAY
BY T. O. BANSO
“For the lips of a priest should keep knowledge, and people should seek the law from his mouth; For he is the messenger of the LORD of hosts. But you have departed from the way; you have caused many to stumble at the law. You have corrupted the covenant of Levi,’ Says the LORD of hosts” (Malachi 2:7-8 New King James Version).
Every profession has its ethics. That means those in each profession are not permitted to do as they please. Nevertheless, some professionals still act unethically, and can even get away with it for a long time. However, the day they are caught or their unethical behaviour backfires, they face disgrace and humiliation.
Therefore, it is always morally and legally right to act ethically. Hebrews 10:23 says we should hold fast the profession (confession) of our faith without wavering; for He is faithful that promised. As a child of God, don’t depart from the way of the Lord. His way is not always popular. Those who have left the way of the Lord may consider you old-fashioned or conservative but don’t depart from the way.
God was angry with the priests in the day of the prophet Malachi for departing from the way – His way. Malachi 2:7-8 says, “For the lips of a priest should keep knowledge, and people should seek the law from his mouth; for he is the messenger of the LORD of hosts. But you have departed from the way; you have caused many to stumble at the law. You have corrupted the covenant of Levi,’ Says the LORD of hosts” (New King James Version).
The priests of Malachi’s day were not like the former Levites who greatly revered the LORD, stood in awe of His name, and passed on to the people all the truth they had received from the LORD. They did not lie or cheat, but walked with Him, living good and righteous lives; they turned many from their lives of sin.
In Malachi’s day, the ‘guidance’ of the priests caused many people to stumble into sin. They corrupted the covenant the LORD had made with the tribe of Levi to serve in the tabernacle (Deuteronomy 33:8-11). He also made a covenant of peace and everlasting priesthood with Phinehas, a descendant of the tribe of Levi (Numbers 25:1-14). Verses 12-13 say, “Therefore say, ‘Behold, I give to him My covenant of peace; and it shall be to him and his descendants after him a covenant of an everlasting priesthood, because he was zealous for his God, and made atonement for the children of Israel’” (New King James Version). This covenant is referred to in Malachi 2:5.
But these priests violated God’s covenant with the Levites and, therefore, forfeited the benefit. This happened because they abandoned the way of the LORD. The consequence: “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” (Malachi 2:9 New Living Translation).
To depart the way of the LORD for another way is to dishonour God, and the result is disgrace and humiliation. When Eli and his sons dishonoured the LORD, He said He would honour only those who honour Him, and He would despise those who despise Him (1 Samuel 2:30b).
You honour the Lord by staying on His paths; by obeying His instructions. The priests in Malachi day didn’t do that, therefore, He cursed them. “‘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” (Malachi 2:1-2 New Living Translation).
Whether you occupy an ecclesiastical position or not, don’t depart from the way. Jesus said, “I am the way” (John 14:6). Honour the Lord by obeying Him. That shows you love Him. Jesus said you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind (Matthew 22:37). He said again that if you love Him, you will obey His commandments (John 14:15).
In the days of Nehemiah, one of the sons of Joiada, the son of Eliashib the high priest, was a son-in-law of Sanballat the Horonite, a great enemy of the Jews. Nehemiah drove him from himself and asked the LORD to remember them because they had defiled the priesthood and the covenant of the priesthood and the Levites (Nehemiah 13:28-29). They departed from the covenant of the priesthood and the Levites. Christians are under a new covenant. Jesus is the mediator of a better covenant, which was established upon better promises (Hebrews 8:6b). Don’t depart from Him.
The LORD said in Jeremiah 18:15, “Because My people have forgotten Me, they have burned incense to worthless idols. And they have caused themselves to stumble in their ways, from the ancient paths, to walk in pathways and not on a highway” (New King James Version). Don’t depart from the ancient paths; walk on the highway.
The LORD said through the prophet Ezekiel that the men of the tribe of Levi who abandoned Him when Israel strayed away from Him to worship idols must bear the consequences of their unfaithfulness (Ezekiel 44:10). They would suffer for departing from Him. “They may still be Temple guards and gatemen, and they may still slaughter the animals brought for burnt offerings and be present to help the people. 12 But they encouraged my people to worship other gods, causing Israel to fall into deep sin. So I have raised my hand and taken an oath that they must bear the consequences for their sins, says the Sovereign LORD” (verses 11-12 New Living Translation).
Don’t depart from the Lord; don’t depart from the way. Jesus says we should enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and many people go in by it. He says narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and few find it (Matthew 7:13-14).
Contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered unto the saints (Jude 3b). Don’t depart from it. Hold on to the true gospel; don’t pervert it or embrace the perverted gospel. According to the apostle Paul, in the latter times, some people will depart from the faith. “Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons, speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their own conscience seared with a hot iron, forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from foods which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth” (1Timothy 4:1-4 New King James Version). Don’t be among such people.
Don’t let anyone or anything lure you away from the way of the Lord. Follow the way. Follow God’s instructions. Obey His Word. Those who disregard God’s instructions may go fast, but they won’t go far. Listen to God’s warning; don’t depart; don’t backslide. “My people are bent on backsliding from Me. Though they call to the Most High, none at all exalt Him” (Hosea 11:7 New King James Version).
Paul said the false teachers forsook the right way. “They have forsaken the right way and gone astray, following the way of Balaam the son of Beor, who loved the wages of unrighteousness” (2 Peter 2:15 New King James Version). Don’t depart from the right way; don’t abandon sound doctrine.
Paul warned Timothy to take heed to himself and the doctrine. He should continue in them, for in doing this he would save himself and his hearers (1 Timothy 4:16). Take this warning seriously. As a servant of God, speak the things which are proper for sound doctrine (Titus 2:1). Don’t depart from the way.
Christianity is referred to as “the Way.” Acts 9:2 says that Saul (Paul) still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest and asked letters from him to the synagogues of Damascus so that if he found anyone who was of the Way, male or female, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem. Saul persecuted those who were of the Way – the Christians.
Don’t depart from the Way because of persecution, the cares of this world, the deceitfulness of riches, or the lusts of other things (Matthew 13:21-22; Mark 4:17-19). Don’t be like Demas whom Paul said forsook him because of the love of the world (2 Timothy 4:10).
If you have departed from the Lord, repent and return to Him today (Isaiah 44:22; Jeremiah 3:1, 7; 4:1; 24:7). God will heal your backsliding (Hosea 14:4). “‘Return, O backsliding children,’ says the LORD; ‘for I am married to you. I will take you, one from a city and two from a family, and I will bring you to Zion’” (Jeremiah 3:14 New King James Version). The LORD says again in verse 22, “Return, you backsliding children, and I will heal your backslidings” (New King Jams Version).
If you are not born again, you need to give your life to Jesus now. I urge you to take the following steps: *Admit you are a sinner and you cannot save yourself and repent of your sins. *Confess Jesus as your Lord and Saviour. *Renounce your past way of life – your relationship with the devil and his works. *Invite Jesus into your life. *As a mark of seriousness to mature in the faith, start attending a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church. There they will teach you how to grow in the Kingdom of God.
Kindly say this prayer now: O Lord God, I come unto you today. I know I am a sinner and I cannot save myself. I believe that Jesus is the Son of God who died on the cross to save me and resurrected the third day. I repent of my sins and confess Jesus as my Lord and Saviour. I surrender my life to Jesus now and invite Him into my heart. By this prayer, I know I am saved. Thank you, Jesus, for saving me and making me a child of God.
I believe you have said this prayer from your heart. Congratulations! You will need to join a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church in your area where they will teach you how to live your new life in Christ Jesus. I pray that you flourish like the palm tree and grow like the cedar of Lebanon. May you grow into Christ in all things and become all God wants you to be. I will be glad to hear from you. The Lord be with you.
PRAYER POINTS: Father, uphold me; let me not depart from You; let me not depart from Your way. I will follow the Way to the end. Father, touch everyone who has departed from You that they will repent and return to You in Jesus’ name. Heal their backslidings.
(For over 600 in-depth and powerful messages by T. O. Banso, visit www.cedarministry.org).
T. O. Banso is the President, Cedar Ministry International, Abuja, Nigeria.
Phone No: +2348155744752, +2348033113523
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