Lectionary Calendar
Monday, June 17th, 2024
the Week of Proper 6 / Ordinary 11
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Bible Commentaries
Leviticus 10

Smith's Bible CommentarySmith's Commentary

Verses 1-20

Chapter 10

And Nadab and Abihu, the two sons of Aaron, took both of them their censers, and they put fire therein, and put incense thereon, and offered strange fire before the Lord, which He commanded them not ( Leviticus 10:1 ).

Now in this moment of excitement, in this moment of high emotional pitch, the people are excited. They have seen a miracle of God. They have seen fire from God suddenly consuming this sacrifice, no one around. The glory of God. Aaron's two sons in the midst of this emotional fervor grabbed their little incense burners and took fire in them and put the incense on and began to go in before the Lord to offer incense, "strange fire, which the Lord commanded not".

It is interesting God does want us to worship Him, but God has really prescribed the way that we are to worship Him. You see I am not really free to worship God any old way I feel. I can't come to God any old way I want. If I am to come to God, God has laid out prescribed ways by which I am to come. If I am to worship God, God has laid out prescribed ways by which I am to worship Him. It isn't up to me to choose how I am to worship God.

So here they were coming in a way in which God didn't command them to take this fire and to offer the incense at this point. It was something that was totally done on their own part. Juices were flowing because there's a lot of excitement, people are shouting and all. And, of course, they are important; they are priests and maybe they are wishing to show their importance. Everybody is all excited and watching, now, the things that are happening. And so maybe they want to get into the public eye. And so as they started in with these incense burners and the smoke rising, fire came from the Lord and they both fell dead.

And Moses said this is the thing that God spoke about saying that He would be sanctified before the people and that God would be glorified before the people.

I will be glorified [the Lord said]. And so Aaron held his peace ( Leviticus 10:3 ).

Perhaps they were seeking, at that point, to rob God from some of His glory. Perhaps, at that point, they were seeking to draw attention to themselves away from God. It is always tragic when the instrument of God receives more attention then God or when the instrument of God seeks to draw attention to itself.

We are to be as a mirror reflecting Christ before the world. The only time a mirror attracts attention to itself is when it is dirty. You really never notice a mirror unless it's got a flaw in it or unless it's dirty. When you look at a mirror, you are looking for the reflection. And the only time you really notice the mirror is when there is something wrong with it. Now, we are to be a reflection of Jesus Christ as mirrors reflecting His glory before the world.

Now any time that people are being attracted to me or drawn to me or attention is being put on me, it only indicates there's something dirty, there's a flaw, there's something wrong. I shouldn't be drawing attention to myself. It is tragic that so many do seek to draw attention to themselves. And I think that we perhaps have all been guilty of that at one time or another in our experiences and for me more times than I wish to remember.

Now, if I'm to worship God, I must come in the way that God has prescribed. And Jesus said, "I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life, and no man comes to the Father but by Me" ( John 14:6 ). So I don't care how pious you are or anything else. If you don't come to God through the prescribed way of Jesus Christ, you're never going to make it to God. No matter how idealistic you might be in your thought patterns. No matter how sincere you might be in your endeavor to reach God. You are never going to reach Him unless you come the prescribed Way through Jesus Christ. It cannot be Jesus and others. Jesus said, "I am the Way, no man comes to the Father but by Me."

So Aaron's sons were guilty of taking attention of the people from God to themselves. They had a high hazard job.

And Moses called Mishael and Elzaphan, the sons of Uzziel the uncle of Aaron and said unto them, Come near, and carry your brothers from before the sanctuary out of the camp. So they went near, and they carried them in their coats out of the camp; as Moses had said. And Moses said unto Aaron, to Eleazar and to Ithamar, the other sons, [the brothers of these two guys,] Don't uncover your heads, don't tear your clothes; lest you die, lest the wrath of God come upon all the people: but let your brethren, the whole house of Israel, bewail the burning which the Lord hath kindled. And you shall not go out from the doors of the tabernacle of the congregation, lest ye die: for the anointing oil of the Lord is upon you. And they did according to the word of Moses. And the Lord spake unto Aaron, saying, Do not drink wine nor strong drink, thou, nor thy sons with thee, when you go into the tabernacle of the congregation, lest ye die: it shall be a statute for ever throughout all your generations: that ye may put the difference between the holy and the unholy, between the clean and the unclean ( Leviticus 10:4-10 );

So Aaron was not to mourn for his two sons publicly or God would wipe him out, because what God had done to his two sons was just. For Aaron to mourn before the people would be actually to indicate an unfairness on God's part. And then the warning don't drink any wine or strong drink when you come in before the Lord. He wasn't to go out either. The anointing oil was upon him, the anointing of God was upon him. He was to stay right there, not to leave as long as the anointing oil was on him. But then the warning not to drink wine or strong drink when you're doing service to God in order that you might have a clear head, in order that you might be able to discern between the holy and the unholy, between the clean and the unclean. There is perhaps there a hint that Aaron's sons, the false fire was that they were actually a little bit inebriated, and thus under a false stimulant. Not able to clearly discern their own actions because of drinking and thus in their minds being beclouded and fuzzed because of their drinking. Not really responding to God in the right way that that was what caused them to be wiped out.

In Proverbs we read concerning Lemuel the king. Wine is not for kings. Why? Because if can cause a deterioration of judgment, it can remove natural inhibitions. It can cloud or fuzzy your thinking processes. God wants your mind to be perfectly clear when you worship Him, when you serve Him. He doesn't want you to be under some kind of a false stimulant.

Now, He will accept people in any condition. We saw God working marvelous miracles in taking kids who were high on LSD and on some wild trip, and we've seen the Lord bring them right down and deal with them, bring them right off of it and clear them up and deal with them. But there are a lot of, you know, guys down at the bar tonight who are sitting there, you know, sobbing and saying how horrible they are and how much they need God and all this kind of stuff. But tomorrow they will be right back out cursing and in their old, you know, but it's just that the booze is working on them. And so their repentance is not a true repentance of their heart. It isn't from a really clear mind, thus it is of little value, no value really.

God wants you to have your wits about you when you come before Him. He wants you to think of what you're doing, which is your reasonable service. Come now, let us reason together, saith the Lord. He wants you to be sharp. He wants you to be able to think things through and reason things out to know the difference, to know what you're doing.

David, in talking about our praises, said, "Let us praise Him with understanding". A lot of times, I think people praise God really without understanding, in that you start just a little routine of "Oh Bless God, Hallelujah, Praise the Lord. Bless Jesus, Hallelujah kind of thing." And you can go on uttering these words of praise but your mind can be a million miles away. And that praise is totally worthless and totally meaningless. In fact, it's almost insulting to God for you to praise Him out of an empty head, you know, be thinking of something else while you're just mouthing praises to Him. That's an insult.

If you come up and start to carry on a conversation with me with just inane repetitions and chatter, and I knew that your mind was way off some place else, you weren't even thinking of what you were saying, you're just talking for the sake of uttering words; it would be very insulting indeed. And yet we do it when we come to God. "Bless God. Hallelujah. Praise the Lord. Bless Jesus", you know. And we get into the little singsong, and we start going on and then our minds start tripping out. Man, I wonder if there'll be much snow on Mammoth this year, you know, and coming down those slopes and "Bless God. Hallelujah. Praise the Lord", you know and how insulting that must be to God. He wants you to have a clear head.

I think that sometimes it's good to pray with your eyes closed but sometimes I think it's good to pray with your eyes open. I like to just sit in my chair and just talk to God, just as though He's sitting in the chair across the room from me and just to talk to God in conversational tones and in a conversational way. Somehow we have prayer all confused. We even have a prayer voice and a prayer style and we suddenly lapse into Old English because surely that's more spiritual than modern English in prayer. "O Lord, Thou hath created the heavens and the Earth and Thou hast by Thy mighty hands formed the seas and now we comest Lord to Thee." But usually we've got that prayer voice and so we're sustaining a little bit because it makes it more spiritual, too. "Oh Lord, how much we need Thee," a little quiver in the voice and a little sustain of the notes and prayer becomes much more effective.

What if your friends would come up to you, "Oh Doc, I have these symptoms," and you think what in the world is going on here. And yet people in their prayer have a tone of voice and all which again are totally meaningless as far as prayer goes. I think it's great to talk with God intelligently. To think of what you're saying. I'm sure He appreciates it.

And so God wants a clear mind. The warning not to drink wine, strong drink. Now it is interesting that this follows through in the New Testament. The overseers of the church, the bishop, were not to be given to wine or strong drink. So, God said this is to be forever among the priesthood and then He carried it over into the church. Any pastor of a church, any overseer of the body of Christ should not drink wine or strong drink because he must keep his mind clear.

Paul the apostle said, "All things are lawful for me." But then he added, I will not be brought under the power of any. I will not use my liberty in Christ in such a way indulging myself in some things that could bring me under their influence or under their power. Sure, I'm free to do it. Sure, it's lawful for me but it would be stupid of me to do it because it could bring me under its power. It could bring me under its influence and once I'm under the influence or the power of this drug, or beverage, or whatever, I am no longer free. That very thing that I prize so highly, my glorious freedom in Christ is something that I have to guard very carefully because it's so easy to exercise my freedom in such a way as to bring me into bondage.

Take a look at Adam. Sure he had the freedom to eat of that fruit, but in so doing, he led himself into bondage. He exercised his freedom in such a way that he was never free again. And it's possible for you to exercise your freedom in such a way as to bring yourself into bondage and that isn't very wise because then you're no longer free.

And so the Lord said He wanted them to have a clear mind so that they could put a difference between the holy and unholy. And that they might be able to teach the children of Israel all the statutes which the Lord has spoken by the hand of Moses.

And so Moses spoke unto Aaron, to Eleazar, to Ithamar, his sons-the two that were left, [they said] Take the meal offerings that remain of the offerings of the Lord that was made by fire, and eat it without the leaven beside the altar: for it is most holy: And you shall eat it in the holy place, because it is your wages, and your son's wages, of the sacrifices to the Lord that were made by fire: so I am commanded. And so the wave breast, the heave shoulder shall ye eat in a clean place; you, and your sons, and your daughters with thee: for it shall be your wages, and thy son's wages, which were given out of the sacrifices of the peace offerings of the children of Israel ( Leviticus 10:12-14 ).

And so Aaron and his sons did as Moses commanded.

So now as we go into chapter eleven of Leviticus, next we then get into some of the dietary laws that God established for them. What animals they could eat, what animals they could not eat. And then the purification rights for the women after they had borne children and all. And then the cleansing for leprosy and on into some very interesting things.

Now there is an interesting book called "None of These Diseases," by Dr. Maxwell, I believe it is, that deals with some of the dietary laws. And some of these laws in Leviticus, the laws of cleansing and all, showing that the promise of God that if the children of Israel would keep His commandments and do His statutes and all that none of these diseases which came upon the Egyptians would come upon them. And was showing, actually, the wisdom of a lot of the dietary laws and the laws of cleanliness that God gave unto them, that actually they are strictly health codes.

God is interested in your good health. I don't think God is behind junk food. And I don't think that we can load ourselves up with junk food and ask God to give us a healthy body. I think there's an inconsistency there. It used to be going home from Bible school, we would stop by the Boston Market and buy a gallon of ice cream, a pint of whipped cream, and chocolate syrup and bananas, and we'd go home and I would whip up a quick banana cream pie, and then we'd sit down to eat. And the guys would say, "Who's going to ask the blessing?" I'd say, "You've got to be kidding. You can't in all good conscience ask God to bless this. Just eat it and suffer the consequences." But don't ask God to bless what you know is no good for you. And yet some of us are so foolish, you know. We keep supplying our bodies with junk kinds of food and then we ask God for strength and for health. That's a whole other subject, but we'll get into that next Sunday as we get into Leviticus and the dietary laws and the value of a good diet and all, as God lays it out to the people. God was interested in their health and in the foods that they ate. And so I think we'll find it very fascinating.

Shall we stand.

Aren't you glad you're not living under the old covenant? Wee, it's so neat just to have Jesus Christ and to realize that all these ordinances and sacrifices and the whole thing have been done away and now we can relate to God freely, fully, openly. We don't have to even go to a priest. We don't have to have this mediator between us, but we can come directly to the throne of grace that we might find mercy because Jesus through His sacrifice has made the way for all of us. And so one thing this does in Leviticus is makes you really appreciate more and more what Jesus Christ has done, for He is our total Sacrifice; the peace offering, our meal offering, our burnt offering, our sin offering, our trespass offering, He's everything. By His one sacrifice, He's taken care of it all and made, now, access for each of you directly unto God. How glorious! How wonderful!

God be with you and God bless you and watch over you this week. And just give you a wonderful time in Jesus. As you fellowship together with Him may you experience more and more the glory of God upon your life. I'm convinced that God once again is wanting to reveal His glory to His people. And may He minister to us this week of His love and of His grace. And may you thus be strengthened and blessed in your walk with Him. In Jesus' name, Amen. "

Bibliographical Information
Smith, Charles Ward. "Commentary on Leviticus 10". "Smith's Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/csc/leviticus-10.html. 2014.
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