Scripture: Leviticus 10:3b, ‘Among those who approach me I will show myself holy; in the sight of all the people I will be honored.’
Observations: These words seem so familiar and right to us, God is holy and deserves to be honoured, but the context gives a whole new spin on them. Aaron’s sons Nadab and Abihu disobeyed the commands the Lord gave to Moses regarding the Tabernacle ceremonies. All that is said is that they ‘offered unauthorized fire before the Lord. (v1)’ The censers haven’t been mentioned before this point so it’s unclear how they ought to have been used, but obviously Aaron’s sons used them incorrectly, with disastrous results. Fire comes out from the presence of the Lord and consumes them and they died (v2). The point that God is making is that we can’t approach him however we want, we can’t live however we want, and expect God not to notice, or not care. We must approach God will reverence and awe. We can only approach God if we have clean hands and a clean heart. God will only accept those who have perfectly obeyed his will, who are righteous.
Application: In the Old Testament there were a number of ceremonial rituals that people underwent that would make them ceremonially clean, so that they could approach God. These rituals pointed to the cleansing that God would ultimately provide for us in the death of his Son, Jesus Christ. It’s only in Jesus that we are made acceptable in God’s sight. It’s only Jesus who makes us righteous. We can only approach God with confidence because of Jesus. And our God is still holy and deserving of honour. As Hebrews says, ‘worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, for our “God is a consuming fire.” (Heb 12:28-29)’
Prayer: Dear Heavenly Father, I thank You that in Christ I can call You Father, that I can approach You freely as a beloved son. And that is only possible because of what Jesus did for me on the cross, the fact that he died to pay the penalty for my sin, otherwise my fate would have been the same as that as Nadab and Abihu. Lord forgive me when I approach You and I don’t give You the honour You deserve. Deepen in me a sense of Your holiness, that I may worship You with reverence and awe. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.