You are to distinguish between the holy and the common, and between the unclean and the clean, and you are to teach the people of Israel all the statutes that the Lord has spoken to them by Moses.”
… make a distinction between the unclean and the clean and between the living creature that may be eaten and the living creature that may not be eaten.
The first verses are from yesterday’s reading; the second from today’s. Two sons of Aaron, the high priest, offer incense with “unauthorized fire” to the LORD… and fire came out from the LORD and consumed them. It was a deadly mistake. Before this, Aaron and his sons had been dressed in priestly garments, anointed, and had offered the prescribed sacrifices to the LORD. The ordination took 8 days, and different sacrifices — burnt offerings, ordination offerings, wave offerings, grain offerings, sin offerings, fellowship offerings — lots of offerings, for both the priests and the people. The LORD was not to be approached in an “unholy” or “unclean” manner. Nadab and Abihu did not follow the instructions.
You see, God is holy. And His holiness automatically destroys unholiness. That is really hard to understand. I like to think of it as light and dark. Light destroys darkness. Never the other way around. That is why it was necessary to sacrifice (properly) before coming before the LORD. The blood of the sacrifice covered the sin and unholiness.
This is no longer necessary. Not that God isn’t still Holy. He is. But the Blood of Jesus — our sacrifice for sin — didn’t just cover our sin, but it totally washed us clean. Now we can boldly “approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need .” Hebrews 4:16.
But does that mean that we no longer need to learn the difference between clean and unclean? I don’t think so. We are no longer afraid we’ll get burned up, but God is still holy.
Some things are good and right and pleasing to the Lord, and some things are not. And some things we say are truthful and pleasing to the Lord, and some are not. This is so important. We tend to focus more on what we do, than on our words and attitudes. Our words should reflect the truth of what God says in His Word. They should be kingdom words. There is no complaining, criticizing, unkind words spoken in the Kingdom of God. The enemy is know for who he is – a liar and manipulator – and not believed EVER!
We can see one another’s actions, and hear what is said (and how), but we cannot really see the attitudes of the heart. God sees it all. He sees and hears our inward complaining, pride, arrogance and judgements. These are not kingdom attitudes. Only Holy Spirit and the Word of God can change us — transform us. (See Romans 12:1-2)
People today, including many in the Body of Christ, have lost the fear of the Lord. Fear of the Lord makes us really want to be changed. This isn’t a fear that evokes terror and anxiety, but it is a fear that causes awe and reverence for God. Humility shows us who we really are, and Who God really is…the fear of the LORD. He is holy, totally pure and good, powerful, and totally worthy of all glory and honor and obedience.
Holy Spirit, restore the godly fear of the LORD,
first to Your church,
then to this world,
that we may revere You, honor You,
and be effective ambassadors
to the rest of the world.
And give us wisdom,
which begins with the
holy awe, reverence and fear of the LORD.