I started the Bible in 90 Days at my church a few weeks ago and I will admit that there are verses in the Bible that I’ve never read before. Although I’ve been a churchgoer all my life, I realize that I’ve only gotten repeated snippets of the entire story. I’m still only in Numbers, but the discussions inside and out of class are the most enlightening, tying the Old Testament to the New, and reinforcing how Scripture can help us in our most troubling times.
Last week, we were reading in Leviticus. At the end of chapter 9 we have a glorious story of Moses and Aaron entering the tent where the Lord was residing and the Lord appeared to all people. The people were blessed and responded by shouting and falling on their faces.
Things quickly change in chapter 10 as we read of Aaron’s sons, Nadab and Abihu who offer an unholy fire before the Lord, “such as he had not commanded them.” Next, the fire comes out from the presence of the Lord and consumes them and they die. Aaron was silent.
It seems like a harsh punishment for one infraction. But the Lord reveals more in verse 10: “You are to distinguish between the holy and the common, and between the unclean and the clean.”
Although the infraction seemed small to me, it was the difference between holiness and being made in God’s image. It was the difference in loving and obeying God, or loving and obeying yourself. I suspect that Nadab and Abihu had a longer history of putting themselves above God.
In our current political and social climate, we seem to have settled in to a new approach where we have to be better than others, there is always an argument to be won, and life is little about love and caring for your neighbor. Instead it is about bullying and retaliation, tariffs and retaliatory tariffs, country to country and person to person. In our rush, we protect ourselves in our fears, making an unholy fire.
In Romans 2 we read: “Therefore you have no excuse, whoever you are, when you judge others; for in passing judgment on another you condemn yourself, because you, the judge, are doing the very same things.”
Verse 3 should incriminate us all: “Do you imagine, whoever you are, that when you judge those who do such things and yet do them yourself, you will escape the judgment of God?”
Just like in Leviticus, Romans 2:6-8: “For he will repay according to each one’s deeds: to those who by patiently doing good seek glory and honor and immortality, he will give eternal life; while for those who are self-seeking and who obey not the truth but wickedness, there will be wrath and fury.”
May we heed the messages in Scripture: we will not escape the judgment of God.
Blessings, my friend,