This chapter is primarily addressed to corrupt priests. In christian theology everyone is a priest, so this should be a way of learning what God values – and despises – in us.
A priest is a bridge to god, proclaiming his blessings. We are our own bridge to god, and we are his voice here is this world. God says that if its not real, if we don’t sincerely recognise him, the blessings we claim and proclaim are like shit, literally, referring to the least pleasant part of the animal sacrifice, which was never supposed to make it to his presence. In the sacrificial system it was burned off prior to coming to the holiest place.
Turning to a more positive model, God holds up the ideal of the priesthood, the covenant of levi, the patriarch of the priestly tribe. In life he was upright, with integrity. His words were full of instruction and knowledge. His fruit were people turned from evil. In contrast the corrupt priests show partiality in instruction, their own agendas.
The corrupt priests’ relationship to god is compared to faithlessness in marriage. I’m not sure if Gods complaint was literal faithlessness, jewish priests trading in their wives for younger, less jewish models; or its an analogy, or a bit of both. He shows you how cynical he feels about insincere prayers “why have you abandoned me” and “where is God’s justice” when we have abandoned and betrayed him. What justice does the author of life deserve?
Its a mirror with an ugly sight in it. In the era of grace we can forget that we are offending and betraying God if we lie to ourselves about his lordship, don’t live it or speak to truth of it to others. God has not given us grace for this.
Help me stay focussed on you father, and not yield to the temptation to betray you.