Jump Start # 2426
Leviticus 10:3 “Then Moses said to Aaron, ‘It is what the Lord spoke, saying, ‘By those who come near Me I will be treated as holy, and before all the people I will be honored.’ So Aaron, therefore, kept silent.”
Our verse today follows two very tragic events. They were linked together and one lead to the other. Leviticus is a tough read and this section is likely the most known part of this book. In the previous chapter, Aaron offers sacrifice to God. There was a whole series of sacrifices, from sin offerings, peace offerings and grain offerings. The number of animals sacrificed makes this read like a slaughter house. Aaron’s sons were with him to help him. The chapter ends and Moses and Aaron leave. Our chapter opens with Aaron’s sons offering incense to God. All should have gone well. But it didn’t.
There wasn’t an accident. There wasn’t a malfunction. There was no equipment failure. By their own choices, Aaron’s sons decided to offer what the text calls a “strange fire” to God. This is not what God commanded. They had profaned and wasted the sacrifice to God. They made assumptions that they had no right to do. They ignored God’s way and did what they wanted to do. It was still worship, yet it wasn’t what God wanted. Immediately, that fire exploded and consumed the sons. They died.
Aaron tragically mourns the loss of his sons. They both died. They died instantly. They died in worship. And, these two are forever linked with Lot’s wife, Uzzah, Annais and Saphira—all who were killed instantly in disobedience to God. Great sermons about respecting God’s authority have been built around this context. We need to understand the concepts of Biblical authority.
Our verse lists three eternal principles that we need to see.
First, God will be treated as holy. God is holy. The worship and sacrifice to God must be like God is, and that is holy. What makes something holy is God. When Moses was starring at the burning bush, God told him to remove his shoes because he was standing on holy ground. Was the dirt special? No. What made it holy was that the Lord was there. What made the temple holy is that the Lord was there. Moderns have removed God from worship. It’s all about us now. Church better make me happy, fulfill me and take care of me, or I simply will not return. That selfish and spoiled attitude is void of respecting the holiness of God. The worship of God has turned into a side show carnival with comedians who pretend to be preachers, music that rivals any rock concert, food, games, fun, and a total disregard for the holiness of God. It is believed today that anything done in worship is ok with God. Unholy people, living unholy lives, offering unholy worship to God are surprised that anyone would even question what they do. They don’t open their Bibles. They don’t know the Bible. All they want is a good time in church. Taking His holy name in vain, dishonoring His holy word, and testing the patience of God by foolish and vain attitudes about Him. God is holy. His name is holy. We are to be a holy nation, not as a country, but as followers of Christ. The spirit of contemporaries filters into our worship of God. When we replace God as the central feature of our worship, then unholy things begin to happen.
Second, I will be honored. Honor is a concept we see in other areas of life. There is honor guard. There is honor roll. There is honoring your father and mother. There are certain dos and don’ts about the way we handle the American Flag. It shows respect and honor. New, different, never tried before, is not the way to honor God. Following what He says is the way to do this. You cannot honor God by ignoring, disrespecting and violating His word. You cannot be right with God and wrong with the Bible. Simply wearing Jesus’ name on a T-shirt is not the way to honor Him. Throwing God’s name into a rock show filled with smoke, laser lights and loud music isn’t the way God is honored.
For instance, it’s a guy’s birthday. His wife asks what kind of cake he’d like. Chocolate, he says. What would you like to eat, she asks. Steaks on the grill. So for dinner, she makes veggie wraps and for desert she’s made jello. Is he happy? She asked him, and then she ignored what he said. She didn’t honor him. She made what she wanted. Now, slide this into worship. God tells us how to worship. It’s in the Bible. But I want to show movies, instead of listening to sermons. I want popcorn instead of Lord’s Supper. I want secular songs rather than hymns. We can rock. We can dance. We can eat. We can have a blast. But did we do what God wanted? Is God going to be happy? So odd, that folks can’t get this.
Third, Aaron kept silent. He didn’t open his mouth. He didn’t say anything. His sons died. God killed them. Aaron kept silent. He did that because God was right. His sons were not holy nor did they honor God. His sons were wrong. Aaron also kept quiet because you can’t fight God and win. There was no need for yet another death that day. It was tragic enough. And, Aaron wanted to remain on the right side of God, so he kept silent.
We ought to learn something from this. People will say, “I probably shouldn’t say this, but…” Then don’t. Keep silent. Hold your peace. Solomon said there is a time to be silent and a time to speak. We have a hard time figuring out when those times are. Instead of complaining, keep silent. Could you do it better? Are you running your life perfectly? Instead of nit-picking, keep silent. Instead of gossiping, keep silent. Instead of trying to run everyone else’s life, keep silent. Rather than telling God how He ought to do things, keep silent.
Holy…honor…and, silent. That’s a great combination. It would help our worship if we practiced these three things. It would help us get along better with God if we could remember these three things. And, it would keep us from getting into so much trouble, if we could only remember, holy, honor and silence.
Aaron got it. His boys never did. How are you doing with these things?