Listen to this morning’s Scripture Song – Joshua 1:8
Read the “0205 Evening and Morning“ devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.
Read a previous post from this passage – “Strange Fire.“
“And Moses diligently sought the goat of the sin offering, and, behold, it was burnt: and he was angry with Eleazar and Ithamar, the sons of Aaron which were left alive, saying, Wherefore have ye not eaten the sin offering in the holy place, seeing it is most holy, and God hath given it you to bear the iniquity of the congregation, to make atonement for them before the LORD? Behold, the blood of it was not brought in within the holy place: ye should indeed have eaten it in the holy place, as I commanded. And Aaron said unto Moses, Behold, this day have they offered their sin offering and their burnt offering before the LORD; and such things have befallen me: and if I had eaten the sin offering to day, should it have been accepted in the sight of the LORD? And when Moses heard that, he was content.” (Leviticus 10:16-20)
This had to be a very discouraging period in Aaron’s life. His sons, Nadab and Abihu, were slain by the Lord for offering “strange fire” in the Tabernacle instead of the fire from off of the brazen altar (Leviticus 10:1 – 5). It is possible, even probable, that their lack of judgment in doing this was caused by their consumption of alcohol. Immediately after this happens, God prohibits the drinking of alcohol by priests (Leviticus 10:8 – 11). It seems odd that God would include this prohibition in the middle of this chapter if it had nothing to do with what happened to Aaron’s boys. Just a side note here, but notice that God specifically mentions in verse 10 and 11 that drinking alcohol would make them “unholy” and “unclean”, and would inhibit their ability to teach the Word of God (Leviticus 10:11). It’s amazing to me that today there are so many people who teach the Word of God who think it’s wise to consume alcohol.
Aaron and his other two sons, Ithamar and Eleazar, were not even permitted to mourn for their loved ones as they were at the last day of an eight-day dedication of the Tabernacle. They could not leave the Tabernacle.
Moses is very concerned that there be no further incidents in the Tabernacle so he reminds his brother and nephews about God’s instructions regarding the meat offering and the peace offerings (Leviticus 10:12 – 15). This is when Moses finds out that God’s specific instructions were violated yet again because the sin offering was not eaten by the priests in the Holy place as God commanded:
“And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, Speak unto Aaron and to his sons, saying, This is the law of the sin offering: In the place where the burnt offering is killed shall the sin offering be killed before the LORD: it is most holy. The priest that offereth it for sin shall eat it: in the holy place shall it be eaten, in the court of the tabernacle of the congregation. … All the males among the priests shall eat thereof: it is most holy.” (Leviticus 6:24-26, 29)
Apparently, the sin offering was just burnt outside of the camp, and was not eaten. Moses questions his nephews about this, but Aaron is the one who gives the answer. Reading between the lines, it seems as if Aaron’s answer indicates that after all that had happened, their hearts (and their appetites) were just not up to eating this sacrifice. He claimed that God would not have accepted it anyway if they had hypocritically offered it and eaten it. This time, God does not kill them, and Moses lets it pass without further rebuke.
This chapter depicts a downward spiral in the lives of Aaron and his sons. It seems to begin with a foolish decision to drink alcohol while serving in the Tabernacle. That bad decision leads to a tragic consequence, which then leads to discouragement. Then, in their despair, they cannot serve the Lord as they should. Their hearts are just not in it.
We need to be aware of these downward spirals that happen in our lives as well. Something bad happens, whether our fault or “happenstance” does not really matter. Negative events often produce discouragement, which can then lead to more negative decisions resulting in further tragedy. We have to stop the spiraling before it brings us completely down. David “encouraged himself in the Lord” (1 Samuel 30:6), which prevented him from doing something stupid and making his situation worse. We need to recognize this downward spiral and take the necessary steps to pick ourselves back up and keep serving the Lord.
Posted in Devotions by Phil Erickson with 3 comments.