Monday, January 20, 2020

2020.01.20 Hopewell @Home ▫ Leviticus 9:18-10:7

Questions from the Scripture text: What was being done at the end of the eighth day of the ordination procedure for Aaron and his sons (Leviticus 9:18-21)? What did Aaron do, having offered the climactic offerings of each type (Leviticus 9:22)? What did Moses and Aaron do, when they came out of the tabernacle (Leviticus 9:23)? And what did Yahweh do (Leviticus 9:23-24)? And how did the people respond? Which two newly ordained Aaronic priests does Leviticus 10:1 mention? What do they take and what do they offer? How does the end of verse 1 explain what was “profane” (literally “strange” or “foreign”) about the fire? From where does the fire in Leviticus 10:2 come? What does it do? What do they do? Who immediately speaks in Leviticus 10:3? What two groups of people does He mention? What must they do (e.g. what had Nadab and Abihu not done)? How does Aaron respond (or not)? Whom does Moses call in Leviticus 10:4? To do what? By what do they carry out the bodies (Leviticus 10:5)? What does Moses tell the father and brothers of the deceased not to do (Leviticus 10:6)? Who is to mourn what instead? What did their being “on duty” in the first full day of their ordained service mean they mustn’t do (Leviticus 10:7)?
This was to be a day of great joy and blessing. There’s Aaron giving the blessing in Leviticus 9:22. And Aaron and Moses, together, blessing the people in Leviticus 9:23. There’s the fire in Leviticus 9:24, coming out from the mercy seat, signifying at both one and the same time that God is a consuming fire in His holiness, and that He has consumed His own fire by atonement so that we can approach Him in mercy.

But one thing that the mercy of God never offers is for us to come to Him on our own terms or in our own way. And the joy and wonder of God making a way to approach Him in blessing, without disregarding His holiness, evaporates in Leviticus 10:1-2. This is strange fire—not the fire that God had commanded. It is not the fire that signifies the forthcoming sacrifice of Christ, in which the wrath of God would be consumed upon Him. This is because we do not get to decide what signifies Christ, and by what acts we come through Him. Only God, who gives Christ, and only God who brings us through Him to Himself, can authorize these things.

Although Aaron is often a poor example to us, that is not so this time. Having gone through the eight days of ordination, and seen what ought to happen to everyone who draws near to the Lord, just one solid word of God from Moses is enough to still his brother in Leviticus 10:3. Aaron held his peace.

Now, we are not Aaron, but we have a high duty in corporate worship, since Hebrews tells us that it is the equivalent of entering beyond the veil into the holy of holies. And it is in the context of that book that we are reminded that our God is a consuming fire, and that all of the parts of New Testament worship are personally led by Christ from glory.

This makes it very dangerous for us to come to worship, and assess (or plan, if that is our role) by anything that we want, or that any other mere man wants. Here, we are coming through the veil into glory, a holy of holies greater than the one from which the fire comes in this passage. And will we now come without regarding God as holy? Without coming in only those ways that have been commanded by Him who has provided the propitiation of His wrath (completely satisfying it so that there is only favor left)?

May it never be! But, how often have we evaluated public worship by how well we have liked what happens there, or how meaningful the experience has felt to us? Perhaps we could resist this tendency, if we studied to grow in understanding and embrace of how the Lord Jesus Himself is leading us in each part of the worship that He commands in Scripture!
Looking at the list of Scriptural parts of worship in WCF 21.3-5, how does Scripture show each of them being led by Christ? What habits, before and during worship, can help you improve your awareness of this?
Suggested Songs: ARP22C “I’ll Praise You in the Gathering” or TPH277 “Before the Throne of God Above”

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