Gleanings of Wheat: A Blog dedicated to cooking, kids, and Christ

Friday, June 6, 2008

Reflections on Leviticus 8-10

I have got a few different things popping around my head that aren't incredibly connected so I will break this up into three brief sections so it makes a bit of sense - hopefully.

The Lord Consecrates Us

In the eighth chapter of Leviticus God commands that Aaron and his sons be consecrated for service in the Tabernacle. They are given the special garments to wear, anointed with oil, and then sacrifices are made for their sin (8:1-30). And finally they are commanded to stay in the tabernacle for seven days:

And ye shall not go out of the door of the tabernacle of the congregation in seven days, until the days of your consecration be at an end: for seven days shall he consecrate you. (vs 33)

They had just done everything the Lord had commanded, at least in terms of their consecration up to that point, and then that last little phrase is inserted. Even in their faithfulness and obedience we see, therefore, that it is not their work that makes them right and set apart for God's work rather it is God who does the consecrating. It is God who makes us clean, let us not forget that it is by grace we are saved. And not our good works.

For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. (Ephesians 2:8-9)

The fall of Nadab and Abihu

These two sons of Aarons had come out of Egypt under the same deliverance of God's hand, the Lord had just accepted their first offerings in the newly consecrated tabernacle (9:24), and in the very next verse we see these two men doing exactly what they had been commanded not to:

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. (Leviticus 9:1)

How quickly they strayed! They had just been put to service and already had brought sin and corrupted offerings to the Lord. Perhaps they thought that the commandment to not use "strange" things wasn't a big deal, perhaps they weren't paying attention the day the commandment was given, or perhaps they thought God was being too strict in the way they ought to worship. Whatever the case, in response to their disobedience God consumes them with fire (vs 2). How quickly we'll fall if we do not strive to be obedient and dependent on the Lord's wisdom instead of our own! Tim has a great post from February dealing with our continuing need for grace and dependence on God, check it out here.

Service in the Tabernacle

Do not drink wine nor strong drink, thou, nor thy sons with thee, when ye go into the tabernacle of the congregation, lest ye die: it shall be a statute for ever throughout your generations: (Leviticus 10:9)

The priests are commanded not to drink during their service in the tabernacle; God is calling the entire nation of Israel to a life that is radically different from the pagan cultures around them, and the priests would be responsible for leading them in this service. They are called to be sober minded and vigilant as they serve God, likewise we are called to be sober minded and alert (1 Peter 5:8). If we are going to serve God properly, to faithfully proclaim His glory and holiness then we're going to have to look different than the world around us. Some people get high to connect with what they perceive to be God, others chant themselves into a stupor expecting God to appear there - but we, brethren, we are not called to look within ourselves or to lose control of our faculties. Rather we are commanded to take every thought captive and be transformed by the renewing of our minds (2 Corinthians 10:4-5, Romans 12:2) this is a radically different approach to serving God even today.