Update: Things are different in Leviticus 10. After the “high” of Leviticus 9 where God came down, filled the Holy if Hollies, and consumed the sacrifices with holy fire (also showing his acceptance of his people), Leviticus 10 is a tragic low point. While Leviticus 10 is full of details and rituals that are strange to us, it does speak to us about God’s character, what it means to worship him, and what it means to walk with him as his special and distinct (holy) people. As modern North American people, one of the things that Leviticus 10 addresses is our problematic and sinful side of our Individualism. If you are not familiar with the content and rituals of Leviticus already, because it contains so many things that are foreign or alien to us, I would strongly encourage you to:
Have a Study Bible on hand when you are doing the devotions – especially if you are haven’t yet listened to previous Sunday’s sermon. We’ll try to touch base on some “explanation” in the Reflections Questions section, but we can’t cover everything.
Keep up with the sermons on-line if you are out of town on a Sunday. It is worth it, but Leviticus requires a lot of work. In the Daily Devotions, we won’t be able to cover all the details, explanations, and reasons. You’ll have to lean on the sermons for those. If you have difficulty downloading the sermons from our website, just let me know.
Trust that, as the week unfolds, the devotions will cover/explain many of the things in the passage, i.e., don’t get paralyzed by having to understand what everything means on Monday.
Song for this week – Behold Our God (http://1drv.ms/1icUA0x)
Where possible we will use songs that are live recordings of our worship singing at Church of the Redeemer. You should be able to access them by clicking the link. You can also download them to your computer, phone, etc. (Please copy & paste rather than drag & drop). While these aren’t as professional and flawless as the recordings we’ve from other sources, there’s something very special about singing along with your own church family! It might just be me, but I have found singing along with these (and hearing your voices) to be deeply moving
The goal of the study/reflection questions is to help you get into the text and meet Christ in it, i.e., to worship and meet with God. Avoid engaging with these questions as if it’s a “quiz” where the goal is to get the “correct answer” and then move onto the next question. My prayer, goal, and hope is that the questions will help open up the Word of God – what it means and what it is saying – in order that you might meet God, experience Christ, and hear from the Holy Spirit. 1) I do recommend the full liturgy for each day.
2) The “Bible Study” reflection questions for each day of the week are inserted towards the end of this document. Most often the questions will require time of reflection and pondering in order to find answers or to let the answers sink in to our souls. Be prepared to not rush through them. The goal is to experience/hear from God.
3) Sing the song! (Really) Each week we focus on two songs. Download them to your phone or iPod so you can listen repeatedly during the day. When we sing, our mind, body, heart, emotions, and will are all engaged in worship! If this week’s songs do not appeal to you, substitute a personal favorite.
See that you do not refuse him who is speaking. For if they did not escape when they refused him who warned them on earth, much less will we escape if we reject him who warns from heaven. Thus, let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe, for our God is a consuming fire. Most holy God, you call us to be holy as you are holy. But we fall short every minute of every hour of every day.
We do not wholly honor you with our lives, but instead we make excuses for our sin and presume upon your forbearance and mercy.
We presume upon your forbearance and mercy by not taking your holiness seriously.
Forgive us for leaning upon such cheap grace rather than realizing that sin requires death.
You desire for us to consecrate ourselves to you completely so that you might purify us in your holy fire, ridding us of all our sin.
Most holy God, accept our humble confession, consume it as our sacrifice to you, and direct our hearts to the Cross of Jesus Christ where your holy wrath was poured out wholly and completely so that we might be accepted before you. Absolution (from 2 Corinthians 5)
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation - that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them. For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. Intercession
Pray this week for your own self, your community, church, city, and this world to know the resurrection of Jesus in accepting the good news of the gospel. Pray by name those you want God to bring into his kingdom. Scripture Readings & Reflection
See notes above in yellow. I’ve updated them! One of the unique things about N. American is our “individualism.” More than any other people at any other time in history we celebrate the individual over many things, i.e., “I Did My Way.” Individualism is one of the greatest things about the US. It also leads to some of the worst. You can find a helpful description of individualism here.
It’s Monday. Probably not our favorite day of the week. Spend a few minutes taking stock of how you’re doing right now, what’s on your mind, how you’re feeling, etc about the week ahead. What’s the biggest thing(s) on your mind and in your heart? Talk to God about this and ask him to meet you today in his Word.
Read Leviticus 9:23-24 and then read all of Leviticus 10: 1-7.
From Leviticus 16:1-2 and Lev 8 it looks like Nadab and Abihu entered into the Holy of Hollies and that their lack of discernment may have been connected to the influence of alcohol. Exodus and Leviticus has been very very clear that no one is to enter into the Holy of Holies part of the Tabernacle apart from the High Priest and even then only on the Day of Atonement, i.e., once a year. The reasons for this are obvious. God is holy and pure. Sin cannot live in his presence without being judged justly (with death).
What do you think Nadab and Abihu were thinking? (Use your imagination).
How should we apply this passage? e.g., What are the implications of this passage with regard to things like:
How we think of God
Our personal Individualism and how that has shaped the church today.
Enter into this week’s Song and worship our Holy and Awesome God.
Read all of Leviticus 10. (We’ll cover the matter of the goat in v16-20 later this week).
Nadab & Abihu’s individualism and sin threatened the whole nation/congregation and not just themselves. Given our culture of individualism and its assumptions/rules, that sounds “unfair.” However, from Genesis to Revelation we see that God also “thinks” and acts in ways that are contrary to our individualistic assumptions, e.g., every Egyptian firstborn died and whole churches are judged/blessed in Revelation 2-3.
Read v6 and notice the consequences “all the congregation” (nation) could face due to the potential actions of Aaron and his remaining sons. Again, this challenges our individualistic way of thinking. Consider how Nadab and Abihu’s actions might have affected the whole congregation/nation and their relationship with God. Consider:
What were Nadab & Abihu thinking? (Use your imagination.)
Who were they thinking about?
Who/what were they not thinking about?
In what ways might/could/should our modern individualistic way of thinking be challenged and changed by Leviticus 10? (One example to spark your thinking: A recent Barna survey found that, of those who self-identified as Christian (in the US), only 21% believed that spiritual maturity required a vital connection to a faith community.)
Consider how this week’s song (below) is different given your study and reflections today.
Today, we turn to consider the amazing Grace of God in Lev 10 even though the passage includes judgement and death. (We will cover the parts about Aaron’s grief and goat of the Sin (Purification) Offering later this week.)
Read Lev 10:1-15. Endeavor to place yourself in the story. Visualize it. Imagine it from the perspective of Aaron, Eleazar or Ithamar (Aaron’s other sons), Mishael and Elzaphan (Nadab & Abibu’s cousins), or another Israelite observing all this happening Stop at the points reference below (then continue to complete the chapter).
v1-5 How are you impacted? What are you thinking (what’s running through your head)? What are you feeling?
v5-7 How are you impacted? What are you thinking (what’s running through your head)? What are you feeling?
v8 Put yourself in Aaron, Eleazer, or Ithamar’s shoes as Moses turns his attention directly towards you. Given the corporate (collectivism) v’s individualism we considered earlier this week, what might Aaron and his sons be thinking/expecting/fearing?
v9-11 – How does this impact you?
v12-15 – What is God, through Moses, communicating to Aaron and his family?
God is holy and he does judge sin. He must. There’s no other option and he doesn’t apologize for it. However, God would have been 100% justified to
Wipe out Aaron’s whole family,
Scrap the Priesthood, and/or
Turn his back on the whole nation (and go and find a better one).
But he doesn’t. Reflect on that and let it sink in. Respond to God.
Close with a time of meditation & reflection on Exodus 34:5-7 and Matthew 23:37. Consider:
God’s amazing grace to you despite your sins, failures, and rebellions.
How different we would be if we knew (accepted) more of God’s grace, mercy, and forgiveness.
Priest of God are called to die to themselves and to turn away from (the sins of) individualism in order to serve God in this world.
Read Leviticus 10:4-7. God doesn’t demand that Aaron and his two sons put on a happy face or forbid them from grieving in their soul. Unfortunately, because they were still under the special anointing of their ordination when Nadab and Abibu sinned, they are specially consecrated to the Lord and Holy so they:
Cannot carry that holiness outside of the tent or it would bring judgement on the people they came into contact with.
Would dishonor God if they ripped their clothes and messed up their hair (customs observed by Israelites during mourning).
Yet, God calls the whole nation to grieve for them. He is a God of compassion who seeks to honor Aaron and his broken family. But, Aaron and his sons must die to themselves in serving God because they have been set aside as his priests
Read v3 and let the weight of Aarons response sink in.
Consider also v8-11 how else must God’s priests die to self and (the sins of) individualism in order to serve God.
Close with reflecting on Luke 9:23-26.
Consider this for yourself individually, what would change if you took the next step towards this.
Consider what the church of Jesus Christ might look like in the US if we lived this out more fully.
Two options today.
If you missed one of this week’s reflection questions or if one stood out (for good or bad reasons), consider returning to it afresh today.
Listen to/sing this week’s song then read, reflect, and mediate on Luke 15:11-32 in light of all that God has shown you in Leviticus 10 this week.
Song of Approach &/or Commitment - Behold Our God (http://1drv.ms/1icUA0x)