God’s Standards for Ministers

The One Year Chronological Bible, NKJV (Tyndale, 2013), September 5

“They shall enter My sanctuary, and they shall come near My table to minister to Me, and they shall keep My charge” (Ez. 44:16).

Back in the day, when Jeroboam led the ten tribes in their rebellion against King Solomon’s successor, he established a new religion with new gods and new priests. The LORD had established the Levites as priests to serve in his temple. They had to wear special garments, and they couldn’t touch the dead or marry whomever they wished. Jeroboam, however, had no standards. He allowed anyone to serve as priests.

Even today the LORD requires certain things of pastors that he doesn’t require of others. A pastor must “be blameless, the husband of one wife, temperate, sober-minded, of good behavior, hospitable, able to teach; not given to wine, not violent, not greedy for money, but gentle, not quarrelsome, not covetous; one who rules his own house well, having his children in submission with all reverence, not a novice . . . he must have a good testimony among those who are outside” (1 Timothy 3:2-4, 6a, 7a).

In a most unusual passage, the LORD lays out standards for the priests (the descendants of Zadok) who will serve Him during the millennium. They are to wear linen; they must not shave their heads or let their hair grow long; they shall not drink wine; they must not marry widows or divorced women.

What do God’s standards for priests teach about God, ministers, and the ministry today?

  • God makes certain men responsible for teaching, in word and by example, the difference between the holy and the common.
  • Standards always accompany calling. People are attracted to the ministry for various reasons. Attraction to the ministry, however, doesn’t constitute calling. Since ministry is God’s business, He gets to set the rules.
  • Just because men are “ministers” doesn’t necessarily mean that they are God’s ministers.
  • Ministers, therefore, must understand that their service is both an honor and a responsibility.

Questions for today’s Chronological Bible reading (Ez. 44-46):
What three things does the Lord instruct Ezekiel to do? What does this reveal about God? His word?
Why does God tell Ezekiel to pay close attention to the entrance and exits of the temple?
What requirements does God give to the priests regarding the LORD’s service?
What are they to teach the people?
Which feasts are the people to observe?
What regulations does Ezekiel give for the Sabbath, the New Moon sacrifices, and the conduct and offerings of the people in the temple?