15.4 Moses 15, Day 4

Then and there, Here and now, Things to come

In attempting to understand and apply the scriptures, biblical scholars, like you and me, must look at the context under three different lenses.

1. Exegesis: What did this mean then and there?  How did it apply to the people and times and social norms when it was written?

2. Hermeneutics: What does this mean here and now?  How are we being called to apply this message to ourselves in our times?

3. Proclamation: What does this mean for the things to come?  How is this a foreshadowing or revelation of things that have not yet occurred or places that are not yet open to mankind?

I think this is particularly helpful in looking at the story of Aaron’s sons, Nadab and Abihu.  We are not told much about these men or this event and it is important that we not over-postulate and either make assumptions or contrive explanations to make up for facts that we are not provided.  I’m of the belief that if those facts were crucial, they would be in the bible.

So, let’s look at what we do know.  For 7 days and 7 nights Aaron and his sons had sanctified themselves and this place for holy service.  The best illustration I could think of to put it into current terms would be if for 7 days and 7 nights a team had worked to disinfect, sterilize and sanitize an operating room clean room.  Then, after all of that was completed, 2 of the staff members brought in an infection from outside.  Leviticus says that Nadab and Abihu brought in “unauthorized fire” contrary to God’s command.  The NKJV translation calls it “profane fire”.  Profane derives from the word profanus which means “from outside of the temple.”  The response was immediate and severe.  “Fire came out from the presence of the Lord and consumed them, and they died before the Lord.”

In another part of the bible, Isaiah 6, we learn that when Isaiah came into the presence of the Lord he fell to the ground saying, I am doomed because I am a man of unclean lips.  One of the seraphim comes to Isaiah with a coal from the altar (in heaven) and said, “See, this coal has touched your lips. Now your guilt is removed, and your sins are forgiven.”  From this scripture we know there is an altar in heaven with burning coal.

We also know from Revelation 8 that after the 7th seal was broken,  “Then the angel filled the incense burner with fire from the altar and threw it down upon the earth.”

Basically, from the various scriptures, we see the tabernacle was a real place in the wilderness with the priests of Aaron and the people of Israel.  We also know the tabernacle was a representation and foreshadowing of a real place in heaven.  We also know that all of this is a physical representation of the spiritual gift of God through Jesus of forgiveness of sin and removal of guilt.

This triplicate meaning carries a far heavier burden than if this was simply a building or a tent in the desert.  Variance is not acceptable then and there, because it is so specifically tied to the things to come.  The fact that this is a reflection of both a physical place in heaven and a spiritual reality of forgiveness also creates a requirement of exactness.

Not only had the tabernacle been devoted to God, but it also was an image or reflection of so much more.  Think of it as a portrait or representation.  We would not expect God to look favorably on this portrait of His redeeming love and His heavenly palace to be repainted with inexactness or callousness.

Does God’s response seem harsh?  We need to think what steps we go to in protecting things which represent so much less:  How do we protect the Declaration of Independence or the Constitution of our nation?  How do we protect the Mona Lisa?

 

My Answers:

8.
a.
The offered unauthorized fire (profane fire).  Profane comes from profanus which means “outside the temple.”  After 7 days of ordination and consecration – they brought in fire from “outside” – they were consumed by fire and died

b.
God’s holiness consumes that which is brought before Him unconsecrated.  Either our offering or we will be consumed (but Jesus paid this price)

9.
a.
He grieved, but did not have any worthy comments

b.
You have work today (for which they were ordained).  Do not mourn and slack in your responsibilities, however, find comfort that the whole community will mourn on your behalf

15.3 Moses 15, Day 3

Listen and obey, come to the altar, and repent

I understand that the point of the question about the “first duty” of Aaron and his sons was that first they made the offering for their own sin.  Any one who has flown on an airplane has heard the direction to first put on your own breathing mask and then assist others.  We know the scriptural call to “first take the plank out of our own eye”.  In order to help others, we must first take repentant steps in our own life to remove the stain of sin.

But, when we peel back the steps leading up to that sin sacrifice, we receive even more insight.  The first thing they were called to do was to listen.  Moses called them and said…  Moses was talking, giving direction, but Aaron and his sons had the responsibility of hearing the words that God had given him.

Next, they obeyed.  Vs 5. they took the things Moses had commanded to the front of the tent.

Then they accepted the altar call in vs 7 and finally, they offered the sacrifice for their own sins.

This is the order of the calling each of us can receive as well.  First, God is calling to us.  He talks to us through His word, through others in our life, through events and circumstances, through the Spirit.  But how many refuse to listen?  He who has ears, let him hear.  Second, upon hearing the call of our Lord, we have free-will.  Sadly, many hear the call to salvation but choose to not obey.  Third, we approach the altar.  We are not called first to “go out”, but we are called first to “come home” to bring ourselves to the foot of the cross.  Finally, through repentance, we accept the gift of sacrifice that Jesus made to fully cover our sins for all eternity.

This is important because God’s love is so great for us that He doesn’t insist that we first repent and then receive the call from Him.  It is not that we are seeking Him, but like the Good Shepherd, He is out seeking His lost sheep.

This same pattern continues even after we have been saved.  We often will pray for “the direction of the Spirit.”  However, here is the truth:  The Spirit is not lacking in providing direction – we are lacking in reading, hearing and heeding that direction.  If you would like more blessing.  If you would like more joy.  If you would like more revelation of the glory of the Lord. Reading, Hearing and Heeding is a great place to start.  That path will lead you through obedience, repentance and into the presence of the glory of God.

 

My Answers:

6.
a.
From Moses to God

b.
1. Listen, 2. Come to the Altar, 3. sacrifice a sin offereing

c.
They were commanded by the Lord so that the Glory so that the glory of the Lord may appear

d.
1. our order of tasks is the same. 2. The reason for the ministry must (a) come from God and (b) be only for the glory of God

7.
a.
They shouted for joy and fell facedown

b.
When I have felt the full redemption of God from my sins

15.2 Moses 15, Day 2

Hectic vs. Peace

My wife is a fan of an author of a series of organization books called the FlyLady.  There are several very simple principles she offers that at first seem trivial but make a lot of difference.  She teaches the concept of forming simple routines, and executing them consistently.

For example, one of her main teaching points is to “shine your sink”.  Despite all the “bigger” things that “need to be done”, you have to have a starting point and emptying the sink of dirty dishes and making it clean is a great place to begin.  She also teaches to identify the “hotspots” in your home, the places that as soon as one thing is left there out of place that is a sign to everyone else to pile on.

I bring this up not to necessarily promote this author, but to reflect that many, if not the majority of people, are living a life that they readily admit is out-of-order and disconnected.

Fixing this state is the gift that God bestowed on the priests.  The word ordination comes from the root word meaning to put in order.  The word consecrate comes from the root words meaning to be joined with the sacred.

While there is nothing wrong with taking steps to get our home, work, time and finances in order, the bigger goal is to get our life in order.  The only way to do that is to place it in service to God and join our lives to Him.

Like the family of Aaron, when we accepted the calling of God, we became priests.  Our old lives and priorities are in the past.  Our new lives are not only our own, but we are called to put them into the service of our Lord.  But we are not yet living full-time in God’s temple.  We face temptation.  We continue to sin.

But the message of ordination and consecration is not simply a one-time ceremony, it is a daily walk with God.  What are the hot-spots of sin in your life?  What simple routines do you need to establish and then execute them consistently?

I love the model that Moses sets for us to do this every day.  Many of us rush through showering, dressing and running out the door in the morning.  What if we consistently execute this simple routine with an intentional heart directed to Him?  What if when we bathe, we focus our thoughts on not only the cleansing of our skin, but on the cleansing of our sin through God’s forgiveness?  What if when we dress we think not only about what we cover our selves with physically, but we also think about putting on our spiritual armor?  What if when we apply deodorant, cologne or perfume oils to make ourselves have a pleasing aroma to others we also applied a coating of the Spirit and asked His help to make all the activities of our day be a pleasing aroma to God?

When non-Christians look at your life, do they see a hectic life that is out-of-order and disconnected, or do they see someone who is on the path of peace and joy?

My Answers:

3.
a.
We are – believers – those who have been called

b.
W: Believers in Christ have been cleaned by His power, sacrifice and presence
D: Believers are clothed in the Lord, Dressed in while through the cleansing blood
A: Believers are anointed by the Spirit bringing gifts of the Spirit

4.
a.
Ordination comes from “putting in order, arranged.  This is being placed in a position of holy leadership.  Consecration comes from being joined with the sacred, dedicated or devoted as sacred

b.
The places they would go, the things they would do, the things they hear would be right and holy from God and for God:

c.
Dining and recreation purely for my pleasure and not (other than a prayer of grace) dedicated to God

5.
a.
staying there, purifying, sacrificing a bull each day

b.
Jesus is the one and done. high priest of heaven for all eternity