Nepaug Bible Church - - Pastor's Prayer Meeting Lesson Notes -

Leviticus: Fellowship With A Holy God
Part II: Acceptable Service To A Holy God, Leviticus 8:1-10:20
C. God's Dealings With His Servants' Unacceptable Service
(Leviticus 10:1-20)
  1. Introduction
    1. Church teachers, leaders, pastors, husbands and parents, folk who are called of God to be spiritual leaders of those in their jurisdiction, are supposed to serve God correctly for His approval.
    2. However, leaders can rebelliously sin, and fail to do acceptable service, and God must discipline them.
    3. Leviticus 10:1-20 is a very insightful narrative on how God deals with this matter (as follows):
  2. God's Dealings With His Servants' Unacceptable Service, Leviticus 10:1-20.
    1. After the dramatic blessing of God's sending fire out from His visible cloud to ignite the sacrifice, condoning Aaron's service before the people of Israel (Leviticus 9:24), a tragic event occurred where Aaron's two eldest sons disobeyed God's will for their service, and His fire killed them, Leviticus 10:1-2:
      1. Nadab and Abihu, Aaron's eldest sons who once had eaten in the presence of God on Sinai with Israel's elders and Aaron (Exodus 24:9-11), took censers, put fire in them, and offered "strange" fire before God, an offering that was in some way rebelliously disobedient to God's commands, Leviticus 10:1.
      2. In response, for the second time only in Biblical history, fire came out from God's presence, but not in blessing as it had in Leviticus 9:24, but this time in judgment to slay Nadab and Abihu, Leviticus 10:2!
    2. Moses explained to Aaron that this tragedy illustrated God would be set apart as separate from all such rebellion in all the priests who would minister in His presence before the people of God, Leviticus 10:3a.
    3. Aaron correctly controlled his feelings and actions, remaining silent in reverence to God, Leviticus 10:3b.
    4. Moses enforced this self-control bent on the part of Aaron and his surviving sons in Leviticus 10:4-9:
      1. Moses directed relatives of Aaron who were not priests ceremonially to defile themselves by touching the dead bodies of Nadab and Abihu to remove them from the tabernacle for burial, Leviticus 10:4-5. Aaron and his younger, surviving sons were not to touch the dead bodies lest doing so give the impression to Israel that they sympathized with the sin of Nadab and Abihu for which God killed them.
      2. Moses then instructed Aaron and his surviving sons not to practice customary grieving for the death of the deceased lest they be slain by the Lord in appearing to sympathize with their sin before the people, and thus cause the people to think evil of God to where God had to slay the people in judgment, 10:6.
      3. Moses also told Aaron and his sons to stay in the tabernacle to finish their assigned priestly ministries since the holy anointing oil was on them, and they were not to show sympathy for the dead sinners in leaving their work, making God have to slay them for giving a bad testimony to the people, Lev. 10:7a.
      4. Also, as Nadab and Abihu had likely sinned due in part to drunkenness that had impaired their judgment, Moses claimed the priests were to avoid strong drink in their ministries lest they die, 19:8-9.
    5. The reason for such self-control was said to be its necessity for the priest's living separate from sin so that their actions could be supportive of their instruction on holiness before the people, Leviticus 10:10-11.
    6. Moses later told Aaron and his surviving sons, Eleazar and Ithamar to take appropriate sacrificial meat the priests were to eat and to consume it in God's presence in the tabernacle area, Leviticus 10:12-15.
    7. However, instead of eating their share of the offering, Aaron and his surviving sons burned it on the altar to the Lord, an act that angered Moses for this technical disobedience to God, Leviticus 10:16-18.
    8. Aaron explained that, in view of the traumatic events of God's slaying of his older sons, he feared God might not be pleased with his eating his rightful portions, so he had put them on the altar in reverence for God, Lev. 10:19. The reverent motive for this technically disobedient act covered for Aaron's technical disobedience, for Moses was satisfied with his answer as God allowed for errors done in upright motives.
Lesson: (1) Rebellious disobedience to God by a leader is severely judged by God, for this sin harms one's influence of holiness to his subordinates via a bad attitude and example in life and teaching. (2) Leaders must then be highly self-controlled in ministry to preserve a testimony of God's holy character to others. (3) However, in a leader who clearly reveres the Lord, disobedience in weakness is tolerated by God as his reverent attitude preserves his good influence regardless of his errant action.