Nepaug Bible Church - http://www.nepaugchurch.org - Pastor's Prayer Meeting Lesson Notes - http://www.nepaugchurch.org/pm/pm20000927.htm
LEVITICUS: GOD'S CALL FOR A SEPARATED WITNESS
Part I: The Path To Gaining Fellowship With God (Leviticus 1-10)
O. God's Revelation Of His Mercy With The Believer's Errors Done Under Duress
Lesson: Due to the UNDERSTANDABLE unsettling effect the judgment on Nadab and Abihu had on the surviving priests, GOD mercifully OVERLOOKED their OWN intentional error done in good faith.
- As mortal beings, we "are but dust" in God's eyes, meaning we are frail and easily susceptible to the effects of sin which include weakness and death, cf. Psalm 103:14; Genesis 3:19c.
- Accordingly, when we as servants of God err due to mortal limitations and NOT due to sinful motives, God interacts with us in great mercy, and this fact serves as an encouraging lesson for us as follows:
- God's Revelation Of His Mercy With The Believer's Errors Done Under Duress, Leviticus 10:12-20.
- As we learned in the last lesson, Aaron and his surviving sons were deeply hurt by the shocking, sudden, divine capital punishment of Aaron's sons, Nadab and Abihu who offered an errant sacrifice, Lev. 10:1-7:
- Aaron's sons Nadab and Abihu were immediately slain by God's supernatural act while they served in their priestly garments in the tabernacle for offering a sacrificial fire in an unbiblical way, 10:1-2, 4-5.
- When these men offered a sacrifice disobedient to the Lord, the Lord killed them with fire, 10:1-2.
- They were still in their priestly robes in the tabernacle, for Moses ordered their relatives to take their bodies still cloaked in their priestly garments out from the tabernacle, Leviticus 10:4-5.
- This occurred while Aaron and his sons, Eleazar and Ithamar were serving God in the tabernacle with the slain sons, and Moses' word to them showed they were deeply hurt by this tragedy, Lev. 10:6-7:
- Since Moses told Aaron and his two surviving sons, Eleazar and Ithamar not to remove or tear their priestly clothing, nor to leave the sanctuary to mourn for Nadab and Abihu, we know these surviving priests were in the tabernacle with Nadab and Abihu when this judgment fell, Lev. 10:6-7.
- The warning of Moses against their grieving reveals they were understandably hurt by the tragedy!
- In the shock of it all, the surviving priests themselves technically erred in letting a portion of meat they were to have eaten become totally consumed by fire on the altar, Leviticus 10:12-17:
- When the tragic deaths occurred, Moses had stepped in to give specific instructions to Aaron and his shocked sons as to what God had expected of them in the process, Leviticus 10:12-15:
- Moses had told the priests who survived the judgment on Nadab and Abihu to eat the priest's portion of the meal offering in the holy place, Leviticus 10:12-13.
- This included specific instructions on the wave breast and heave shoulder portions, Lev. 10:14-15.
- However, when Moses saw the priest's portion of the sin offering had been allowed to be burned up by Aaron and his surviving sons, he was angry, and confronted Aaron and his sons about it! (10:16-19)
- It became evident that the surviving priests' error came from their reaction in becoming nervous at the sudden, tragic judgment of Nadab and Abihu, so God's wrath was mercifully withheld, Lev. 10:19-20.
- Aaron responded to Moses' confrontation in behalf of his surviving sons and himself, freely confessing he had intentionally withheld from partaking of the priest's portion, Leviticus 10:19a!
- His reason for this error was either (a) FEAR from the shocking loss of Nadab and Abihu that he might also have died for having unwittingly ANGERED God, or (b) confusion by grief over the loss of his sons leading to a mishandling of the sacrifice, Leviticus 10:19; Bible Know. Com., O. T., p. 189. Either way, HUMAN FRAILTY exposed by TRAUMA over the tragedy led to this Biblical error!
- In view of the purity of motives in the surviving priests coupled with their understandably distorted thinking influenced from their frailty in not dealing well with the traumatic judgment on Nadab and Abihu, Moses mirrored God's mercy in accepting Aaron's explanation: no judgment followed, 10:20.
- Accordingly, the matter ended with Aaron's explanation as an act of God's mercy for human frailty.
Application: (1) We can rest assured that though God DEMANDS His people not sin, He mercifully considers our mortal CONDITION during crises when our FRAILTY hinders our making the BEST of choices IN them. (2) So, like Moses, we should bear with one another's errors made under duress.