Today’s Bible Reading is for Leviticus 8 – 10
There are three things I want us to see in today’s reading. The first two have to do with the fire of God found in verses 23 and 24 of chapter 9; at least the first three verses of chapter 10 and verses 16 – 20 of the same chapter.
The fire of God is very repetitious; and usually when God’s word repeats something it is due to the fact of God’s making a very clear statement. It matters. It matters very much. Part of the reason that it matters is because of God’s holiness, power, and you could even add His awe-inspiring ways. It is enough to strike fear into the heart of those who would follow Him, believing Him.
There are many today who are teaching that God does not desire us to fear Him; but I beg to differ with that. We should shudder at the thought of offending the Creator GOD who has made all things and even sustains them by His own power (Colossians 1:17)
“And Moses and Aaron went into the tabernacle of the congregation, and came out, and blessed the people: and the glory of the LORD appeared unto all the people. And there came a fire out from before the LORD, and consumed upon the altar the burnt offering and the fat: which when all the people saw, they shouted, and fell on their faces.” Leviticus 9:23-24 (KJV)
It is a fear and reverence which realizes a greater power and presence than one’s self. It is a fear that causes one who is loved by Him and loves Him to seek to know Him better; and to get closer to Him.
The tabernacle is starting its operation with the offering, the glory of the LORD appears to all the people. Fire comes out from before the LORD and consumes the burnt offering and fat. Where did the fire come from? It came from God, the LORD. The people who witnessed this marvelous event were awe-struck and fell on their faces. Ever an act of humility, reverence, and worship. They recognized the presence and power of God.
Many times when we see God move in a powerful way there are some so eager to see it again, that they will try and manipulate the act of God all over again. This may be what happens with Nadab and Abihu in 10:1-2,
“And Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, took either of them his censer, and put fire therein, and put incense thereon, and offered strange fire before the LORD, which he commanded them not. And there went out fire from the LORD, and devoured them, and they died before the LORD.” Leviticus 10:1-2
“Strange fire” had been offered to the LORD by Aaron’s two sons. What this entailed is not fully explained in the text. There have been several suggestions: 1) is that they were intoxicated and that is why the warning of verse 9 is given concerning the drinking of wine; 2) that they may have made their own concoction for a fiery event of their own.
It really seems to me that the event of the last two verses of chapter 9 leading up to these verses in chapter 10 may suggest that they were so zealous and eager to see this miraculous event again that they violated God’s clear direction on entering the tabernacle and the offerings that God showed Himself strong for His righteousness. This clearly made an impact on the people and Aaron.
From this we go to verses 16-20 where we find that God’s commandment concerning the “goat of the sin offering”:
“And Moses diligently sought the goat of the sin offering, and, behold, it was burnt: and he was angry with Eleazar and Ithamar, the sons of Aaron which were left alive, saying, ‘Wherefore have ye not eaten the sin offering in the holy place, seeing it is most holy, and God hath given it you to bear the iniquity of the congregation, to make atonement for them before the LORD? Behold, the blood of it was not brought in within the holy place: ye should indeed have eaten it in the holy place, as I commanded.’ And Aaron said unto Moses, Behold, this day have they offered their sin offering and their burnt offering before the LORD; and such things have befallen me: and if I had eaten the sin offering to day, should it have been accepted in the sight of the LORD? And when Moses heard that, he was content.” Leviticus 10:16-20
It seems that Eleazar and Ithamar had not taken the meat of the sin offering to eat it as God’s commandment had said. They had broken the commandment to do so. Moses was rightly angry with the sons. Aaron has quickly stepped in behalf of his sons and spoke of the grief of the day. Their may have been fear in Aaron’s and his son’s minds and heart for the events and what they had witnessed God doing as well as grief over losing his two sons. When Moses heard Aaron’s grief he went no further with the issue, thus we see the mercy of God.
When fire comes out from God; it must come from God alone. When we – God’s people – try and manipulate the power of God; or try and imitate the power of God strangely; ie., in our own flesh; for our own benefit, or notoriety; then, why should we be shocked to see God claim it for Himself. I believe it was Charles H. Spurgeon who said, “God will not allow His children to sin successfully”.
Someone has said, “When we fear God; we need fear nothing else.” The right fear of God; not a fear that keeps us from God; but the fear that draws us to Him for salvation, solace, peace, and His glory will cause us to fear nothing the world can throw at us.
The fire of God is a consuming fire (Hebrews 12:29).
Join us in reading Leviticus 8 – 10
-Tim A. Blankenship