Notes: March 22, 2008 – Leviticus 9 & 10

The Aaronic priesthood had been established; the priests had been anointed. The first week thereafter the priests were to remain away from the congregation, awaiting further instructions from the Lord. In today’s reading we see that God affirms their consecration in a special way.

I. The newly appointed priests and the elders of Israel are called to assemble (Leviticus 9:1-7)

II. Aaron offers sacrifices on behalf of himself and the people (Leviticus 9:8-22)

III. God startles the congregation by sending fire to consume the sacrifice (Leviticus 9:23-24)

The awe of this heaven-sent fire is soon forgotten by Nadab and Abihu, sons of Aaron, who presume to add their own creativity to the worship of Jehovah and are immediately punished for their profanity.

I. Strange fire calls forth another burst of fire from the Lord (Leviticus 10:1-2)

II. God forbids Aaron and his other sons from mourning the deaths of their rebellious relatives (Leviticus 10:3-7)

III. As an object lesson on the importance of distinguishing good from evil, the priests are forbidden from drinking wine or strong drink (Leviticus 10:8-11)

IV. Moses instructs the priests concerning their right and responsibility to eat a portion of various sacrifices; and he becomes angry when they fail to do so (Leviticus 10:12-20)

Meditation Points:

  • The people had seen a fiery pillar before them each night since their departure from Egypt; and they had become familiar with the cloud which indicated the presence of God in their midst. As a people, they had not heretofore witnessed fire from heaven, either in blessing or in judgment; but they would (Gideon, Judges 6:21; David, 1 Chronicles 21:26; Solomon, 2 Chronicles 7:1-3; Elijah, 1 Kings 18:37-39).
  • God will be sanctified by those who come near Him (Leviticus 10:3). Do we really think that rock bands, colorful clowns, and Bible-less dance should be part of our worship today?
  • The instruction about wine (10:8-11) comes immediately after the death of Nadab and Abihu. One wonders whether they may have been drunk at the time of their profanity. Perhaps this rule for Old Testament priests might well be followed by those who are a kingdom of priests (Revelation 1:6; 5:10). Certainly pastors/bishops/elders of the New Testament church are so warned (1 Timothy 3:3; Titus 1:7. See also Romans 14:21; Ephesians 5:18; 1 Timothy 3:8; Titus 2:3; 1 Peter 4:3).
  • The priests, by their lives and by their words, were to teach the people that there is a difference between the holy and unholy, and how to know the difference.  Do you know the difference?
  • Aaron and the priests are reprimanded for negligence in duty; but when Aaron protests that the grief of the day has caused the oversight, Moses is content.  We, too, must be willing to accept reasonable explanations that others give for their sins of ignorance and omission.