How often when we read the book of Leviticus do we get bored…eyes glazing over as the words on the page drift by without meaning? We yawn and skim over all the detailed instructions given by God to Moses thinking, “This has nothing to do with me. The Temple’s gone…Yeshua’s done away with the sacrifice…ho hum.”
But is God’s Word really dead, and only there for page filler? Let’s take a closer look, shall we? As we do, I believe we’ll see an all-important warning for us today.
Aaron and his sons were anointed for service to the Lord. They were singled out amongst all Israel to minister to the Lord. They were called for a special purpose – one that only they were called to do. (Of course, when man gets involved – like the Romans of Yeshua’s day – that gets watered down, but that’s a story for another day.)
When we read Leviticus 8 we see there was a lot of work that went into preparing the altar and the men for service to the Lord. A simple sentence in the reading passes by so quickly that we often don’t realize the intense amount of work that goes into it.
For instance, Leviticus 8:2 says, “Take Aaron and his sons with him, the garments, the anointing oil, the bull of the sin offering, the two rams and the basket of matzot” we think, “Okay, bring a bunch of stuff to the Tent of Meeting.” (yawn)
Even as we read on, we don’t grasp what is involved. People, we are talking about three large animals that are to be sacrificed. We’re talking slitting the throat…draining the blood…gutting it…cutting it in pieces…skinning it…washing it…and in some instances, carting parts of it outside the Israelite camp and burning it there. What takes us less than five minutes to read had to have taken the better part of an entire day to accomplish!
Now before Aaron and his sons could even be ordained, there were two animals (a bull and a ram) that first had to be sacrificed for a sin offering and a burnt offering. Then came their ordination sacrifice. Truly stop and think about all the worked involved in getting to the point where they were ready for service to the Lord.
No really, I mean pick up your bible, turn to Leviticus 8, and read it as though you were living it. See Moses take the animals one by one. Pause after every few words to see what he was actually doing, the tremendous amount of effort, work, and time that went into each step of the sanctification process. I’ll wait.
Okay, so after all that, Aaron and his sons spent seven days sequestered in the Tent of Meeting. Then, they brought sacrifices for themselves and the people. Another long (but necessary) process of sanctification. Let’s really think about Aaron’s sons for a moment because in chapter 10 we’ll read how two of them sinned and were consumed by fire. A polite way of saying they were burned up, killed.
Was it their misguided zeal to minister to the Lord in a way He did not permit? We may never know their motivation this side of the Kingdom. But whatever the reason, after all the work they went through preparing for a life of service to the Lord, they lost it all in a single moment.
Now think about yourself. What has God called you to do that you are not doing, or doing in a way that He does not permit? Believe me, I am not sitting here pointing a finger. Rather I’m looking deep into my life’s trajectory.
There’s been a lifetime of learning, a lifetime of preparation, a lifetime of work that has gone into my call. There’s also been a lot of missteps along the way.
As I stand outside the Tent of Meeting, I think about all that and wonder if I’m about to throw it all away because of my own misguided motivation. The words, “It’s a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God” come to mind.
Because we can so easily throw away our ministry without realizing it, we have to be in constant communion with the Father. And that’s exactly where the enemy gets us – keeping us so busy that our priorities get skewed.
We become slaves – slaves to time, slaves to a job, slaves to money, slaves to debt, slaves to things, and slaves to plans – even slaves to ministry itself.
But God offers us freedom. Passover is the place to start. Clean out all the chametz (leaven) in our lives. Don’t start with the physical things (like our homes), because we can then look around and think we’ve got our act together. Rather start with the heart, the seat of our being.
Clean out all the junk that gets in the way of our communion with the Father. Vacate the throne of our heart, clean it up, and give Him His rightful place. Then celebrate the freedom we have in Him!
He is our Portion. He is our Rock. He is our Provider. Not because He is our genie in a bottle, there to do our bidding, but because He is our Father Who Knows Best.
The only way to find out that best way is to spend time talking with Him. Above all, listening to Him.
Let’s not spend our lives preparing to do the work God has called us to do only to lose it all in a moment of madness. Let’s gird our loins, celebrate His Passover, then journey to His mountain where we can respond, “All that You say, we will do.”
Then do it…His way.