GOOD MORNING SIBLINGS!
Today’s readings are Leviticus 8-10
I have a lot I want to share but let me get my bullet point notes out of the way first. Let’s dive in!
Leviticus 8:1-36 Today we see Moses consecrate Aaron and his sons as priests in YHWH’s Holy tabernacle. They do this before all of Israel! Can you imagine the sense of pride and joy they must have felt while Moses put the robes on Aaron and his sons?
Leviticus 8:23 What’s up with the right earlobe, right thumb, and right foot? We aren’t clearly told so we can only speculate. I found a great comment on this by a first century author that is a sure possibility. “The fully consecrated must be pure in words and actions and in life; for words are judged by hearing, the hand is the symbol of action, and the foot of the pilgrimage of life.” ~Philo Alexandria, a first century Jewish philosopher.
Leviticus 10:1-2 Why did YHWH kill Aaron’s sons? At the onset, most people reading this on surface level will think this is harsh but that is our western mindset thinking, the one that gives our own thoughts, desires, feelings, and wisdom precedence in all things. We have to switch over to a YHWH centered mindset in order to dig deeper.
Immediately following this incident, YHWH speaks to Moses and tells him what happened.
We’re going to look at the NASB because in this case I think it does a better job of translating.
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. Lev 10:3
Had the men decided to worship YHWH their own way? Were they toying around with fire in the temple? Did they decide to sneak in and set up their own worship so that they might be blessed or could impress others? Was the power going to their head already? We can’t really know, but it is clear from what the Father says that their behavior was irreverent and dishonorable to Him. Note that not just anyone could come near to the Father, Aaron and his sons had been granted a special status, a great privilege. As a result of this special relationship with the Father, they were held to a higher standard, much as we are as representatives of Him in our time. See Luke 12:48, James 3:1 , and 1 Peter 2:9
Leviticus 10:4 Now the bodies of Nadab and Abihu had to be removed but priests are not allowed to touch a dead body because that would make them unclean – and we’ve seen the Father is serious about this. This is why Moses called their cousins to come remove the bodies. Pay attention to the separation of clean and unclean, holy and unholy throughout the Bible. We can glean much wisdom from that as to what the Father means when He tells us to be set apart from the world.
Lev 10:8-11 We see YHWH speak directly to Aaron. Usually, He speaks to Aaron through Moses. His directive is very clear. Some think this may be connected to why his sons were killed, that perhaps part of their irreverence was that they were drunk. This is a possibility and the context could support that but we can’t know for sure.
And now, I want to talk about the “strange” fire which got Aaron’s sons both killed. The word used for “strange” fire in the original text means “outside of the law” or “unconsecrated”. Meaning this was fire that was not authorized or Holy unto YHWH. YHWH had started the fire in the tabernacle but this fire was started by man.
Since that altar fire was started by YHWH Himself (Lev 9:24) it was, therefore, Holy. He gave instructions, also, that it was to be perpetually burning (Lev 6:9, 6:12, 6:13 for starters). Now, it is important to note that only YHWH can make something Holy. Man can be made Holy by the grace of YHWH but that Holiness is through YHWH and thereby man cannot, of his own accord, make something holy because we are not holy in our own right. Can man abolish, create, or declare Holiness? Nope. Holiness has one source. We can claim to do it all day long though, and many do.
So this fire was not consecrated, and not holy and yet it was being brought into the temple.
Now, YHWH had left VERY specific instructions for His priests. We’ve seen, time and again, how clear He is in His instruction, even repetitive over and over on the things that are important to him, demonstrating the patience and authority of a Father as He teaches us. (As a parent myself, when I see YHWH repeating something, I know it’s time to sit up and listen)
On some matters, many matters actually, followers of YHWH are left the freedom of personal preference. This is when decisions are left to us, with no moral implications either way. Do you want iced water or iced tea? Do you want to live in Alabama or Florida? What would you like for supper? Etc.
But certain choices, when YHWH has clearly laid directions out before us, are matters of great moral significance because, in making them, we are choosing whether to obey or disobey YHWH.
Example: He gives us a commandment and we choose to ignore it, make light of it, or we declare that He does not have authority over that area in our lives.
In our time, decisions like this are treated as if they are preferences and most people will see them that way – but YHWH does not.
Aaron’s sons made a choice to bring unholy fire into the temple. They had been given YHWH’s instruction and chose to do things their own way.
We all have strange fire in our lives which we bring before the Lord as if expecting Him to consider it as Holy, even though it is of our own making. We must take a constant inventory of the strange fire in our lives and choose who we really want to follow: self or YHWH.
YHWH does not change and when we tell ourselves that He accepts what He clearly says He does not accept, we have fashioned for ourselves a new god. (See Malachi 3:6)
Speaking purely for myself, I did that for years. I created a god who let me live however I wanted to live, ignore the Word, follow my own heart in all things, and just do what I felt was right, leaning on my own understanding rather than His.
That god felt easy – and shallow. I never had to give serious thought to any particular issue because that god let me go with my own heart leading in all matters. I could ignore what YHWH said was holy and set up new things of my own and call them holy. I could trade what YHWH said was important to Him for things that I wanted to be important to Him.
I thought I was doing everything right because everyone around me did it that way, too.
“For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions” ~2 Tim 4:3
But that water didn’t go very deep and that food left my soul starving. Not only that, but I missed out on the tremendous blessing of leaning onto His wisdom – and ended up with quite a basket of curses as a result of my own reasoning.
Diving into His Word, dedicating myself to reading it, allowing Him to speak and giving Him authority over my life changed everything.
And it changes everything – every day.
I am only beginning my journey. I am amazed at how much I have learned and retained in the past few years but even more amazing is how limitless the depths of wisdom are that YHWH has given us access to.
All we have to do is scoot over into the passenger seat and let Him take the wheel.
Now, my goal is to snuff out those strange fires each and every day in my life – and invite His Holy flame to take up residence in my tabernacle.
I’m so grateful to have such wonderful siblings as I continue on this journey of mine. The Father sure has brought together quite a family!
Test everything, hold tight to what is good.~ 1 Thess 5:21
We are saved by Grace alone: Obedience is not the root of our salvation, it is the fruit!
May YHWH bless the reading of His Word!