Sunday, February 23, 2003

Edifier du Jour-Leviticus 10:1-11(NASB)
1: Now Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, took their respective firepans, and after putting fire in them, placed incense on it and offered strange fire before the LORD, which He had not commanded them. 2: And fire came out from the presence of the LORD and consumed them, and they died before the LORD. 3: Then Moses said to Aaron, "It is what the LORD spoke, saying, 'By those who come near Me I will be treated as holy, And before all the people I will be honored.'" So Aaron, therefore, kept silent. 4: Moses called also to Mishael and Elzaphan, the sons of Aaron's uncle Uzziel, and said to them, "Come forward, carry your relatives away from the front of the sanctuary to the outside of the camp." 5: So they came forward and carried them still in their tunics to the outside of the camp, as Moses had said. 6: Then Moses said to Aaron and to his sons Eleazar and Ithamar, "Do not uncover your heads nor tear your clothes, so that you will not die and that He will not become wrathful against all the congregation. But your kinsmen, the whole house of Israel, shall bewail the burning which the LORD has brought about. 7: "You shall not even go out from the doorway of the tent of meeting, or you will die; for the LORD'S anointing oil is upon you." So they did according to the word of Moses. 8: The LORD then spoke to Aaron, saying, 9: "Do not drink wine or strong drink, neither you nor your sons with you, when you come into the tent of meeting, so that you will not die--it is a perpetual statute throughout your generations-- 10: and so as to make a distinction between the holy and the profane, and between the unclean and the clean, 11: and so as to teach the sons of Israel all the statutes which the LORD has spoken to them through Moses."
I have a hard time being moved by Leviticus with all its offering rules, except by noting what Jesus' sacrifice to end all sacrifices saved us from. However, this is different. The first thing that intrigues me is the "strange fire." The two were offering stuff God didn't ask for and were killed as a process. What are the strange fires of worship of today, things God will dislike for their impurity? Are they the funkier forms of contemporary worship that wind up showing contempt for God? Are they over-the-top emotional charismatic stuff, like what John Adams is worried about here? Are they novel permutations, like the blessing-for-animals services? Are they the various heresies on the left that try to take away God's omnipotence and Jesus' saving power? God told the people to and not to mourn for them, effectively dissing the two dead guys. He also left us an interesting command; when they were to go into the Tent of Meeting, they were to go in sober, so they could know not to blend the sacred with the worldly. We've got problems discerning the difference today, and need to remember to entry God's presence as soberly as we can. That doesn't mean we can be transformed when we get there; I've seen quite a few people "drunk in the Holy Spirit" where their reserve gets stripped away and become child-like in there transparency. However, we need to be sober; not either physically nor emotionally intoxicated by the world when we draw close to Him. Prayer and worship are good detoxers, as we try to take away those things that separate us from God.

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