Leviticus 9 & 10
Excuse me, there’s a telephone pole in your eye!
Logs & Specks
The tabernacle is ready, the priests’ have been consecrated …
“And Moses said to Aaron, ‘Go to the altar, offer your sin offering and your burnt offering, and make atonement for yourself and for the people. Offer the offering of the people, and make atonement for them, as the LORD commanded’ ” (9.7).
The next verse says …
“Aaron therefore went to the altar and killed the calf of the sin offering, which was for himself.”
As I mentioned yesterday, Aaron had to first deal with his own sin before God.
1 Peter 2.9 says about us:
“But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.”
We, too, as God’s holy priesthood, must deal with our own sin before we can see clearly to help anyone else—including our husbands and our children. Matthew 7.5 says:
You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.
Jesus knew how to draw a word picture.
My paraphrase is, “Excuse me, there’s a telephone pole in your eye and you’re worried about that speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye! You might wanna get rid of that pole and things might clear up a bit!”
We all know what happens when we get something in our eye – our eyes water and it’s hard to see anything. Jesus said we must first see the sin in our lives, up close and personal and deal with it, or we are never going to see clearly to minister truth to anyone else.
In chapter 10 we have a startling event in the midst of the newly begun temple worship. Nadab and Abihu do something so grievous to God that they are struck dead.
Verse 1 says, “… each took his censer and put fire in it, put incense on it, and offered profane fire before the LORD, which He had not commanded them.”
God, who is perfectly holy and just, saw this as a serious enough offense that He dealt with it quickly and in a way that was to be an example to all the people and to the priesthood itself.
It appears that in their pride over their new office as priests, they thought they no longer needed to wait on the instructions of the Lord before proceeding. There is reason to believe they were also drunk because of the command that was given immediately afterwards (Lev. 10.8-11). Proverbs 31.5 says that drunkenness causes men to forget the law and pervert justice.
Worship & Our Heart Attitudes
Jesus said in John 4.24, “God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.”
That word spirit has to do with our human spirit, that is, our heart attitude. We must worship God from the heart in sincerity. But we must also worship Him “in truth,” that is rightly.
Paul said in 1 Corinthians 11.29-30 talking about the Lord’s Supper:
“For he who eats and drinks in an unworthy manner eats and drinks judgment to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body. For this reason many are weak and sick among you, and many sleep.”
Many are weak and sick and many sleep. Sleep in that context refers to death. Many have died prematurely because they failed to come to God through a right understanding of the Gospel and properly see themselves in light of God’s Word.
Nadab and Abihu didn’t die because of an innocent mistake, there was something wrong with their heart attitudes before God and God, in His wisdom and perfect judgment, made an example of them.
Neither is God looking to strike us dead because of an innocent mistake, but we need to be serious about understanding what is important to God and what it means to worship Him “in spirit and in truth.”
Today’s Other Readings:
Show Me Your Ways
In fact, our prayer needs to be like David’s was:
“Show me Your ways, O LORD; teach me Your paths. Lead me in Your truth and teach me, for You are the God of my salvation; on You I wait all the day” (vv. 4-5).
Foolishness is illustrated here as a “hostess” inviting in her guests and those who accept her invitation are pictured as those who can’t see that their foolish choices lead to death.
Foolishness and sin are always inviting us to come to the party with promises of fun and pleasure. When we reach out to take their invitation, we often realize too late that they don’t deliver what was promised and, in fact, lead to death.
Our Greatest Need
Signs and miracles defined much of Jesus’ public ministry. The signs were pointing to the fact that He was the Messiah.
Just like today, there was no shortage of people needing healing and deliverance. And the more people heard about the miracles, the more they came with their needs. But have you ever wondered why Jesus would tell people not to talk about their healing?
In verse 44 speaking to a leper he had just healed he said:
“See that you say nothing to anyone; but go your way, show yourself to the priest, and offer for your cleansing those things which Moses commanded, as a testimony to them.”
Verse 45, “However, he went out and began to proclaim it freely, and to spread the matter, so that Jesus could no longer openly enter the city, but was outside in deserted places; and they came to Him from every direction.”
The day before the same thing had happened.
Verses 35-38, “Now in the morning, having risen a long while before daylight, He went out and departed to a solitary place; and there He prayed. And Simon and those who were with Him searched for Him. When they found Him, they said to Him, ‘Everyone is looking for You.’ But He said to them, ‘Let us go into the next towns, that I may preach there also, because for this purpose I have come forth.’”
Jesus could no long come openly into the city to proclaim the Gospel, because so many people were coming with a focus on physical needs. It’s not that God doesn’t care about our physical needs (1.41), but it shouldn’t take the focus off of the greatest need, the need for spiritual truth.
Let’s pray that each of us will seek to worship Him in spirit and in truth today and that we’ll look first for those telephone poles in our own eyes before we seek to take specks out of the eyes of others.
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