Monday, April 11, 2011

Leviticus: Chapter 10

This is a tough, convicting chapter.  Aaron's sons willfully chose their own way to serve God, and it cost their earthly lives.  God has given us His Word to guide us in His ways.  His timing and His chosen place are His prerogative.  There are some hints in the chapter which offer some cautions we may well heed.  There is the distinct possibility that the sons' senses were dulled by alcohol.  It is our responsibility as a nation of priests to always be able to distinguish what is holy and what is earthly.  Any mind-altering chemical will interfere with that ability.  There is also the possibility that the sons went into the Holy of Holies; I have been struck again and again in these chapters to remember the holiness of God.  All service is on holy ground; eternal consequences are at stake.  We must as verse 3 says be sure that God is set apart in our hearts as we draw close to His holiness.  In the last chapter, the phrase 'as God commanded' is repeatedly used, and the chapter closes with the appearance of the glory of God.  We can not manufacture God's presence.  We can not choose how, when and where to serve. He alone is God. 

Aaron's cost in this breaks a parent's heart.  God must be honored first.  Aaron had a charge from God; he was responsible before the people for representing God--for honoring Him above all.  His grief, discouragement, resentment and perhaps even fear must have been nearly overwhelming.  Yet, His example of humble reverence for God lives on through time.  Let us not be dismayed at the picture of judgment but humbly awed at the glory of God.  His love for Aaron's sons was not faulty; our God is a consuming fire.  1 Corinthians 11:32 is a comforting closure to this difficult passage:  ''But when we are judged, we are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world."  The earthly judgment prevented eternal damnation; we can trust in God's love but great blessing requires us to reverence Him moment by moment. 

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