Purity Is Not Optional
Lord, today I bring myself completely before the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. You are greatly to be praised.
Read Exodus 29:29-46
Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. All rights reserved throughout the world. Used by permission of International Bible Society.
“Let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, for our ‘God is a consuming fire’” (Heb. 12:28). Consider that great truth now.
This week-long ordination ritual included priesthood training. Offerings the priests performed for the people are set out here and more systematically presented in Leviticus (Lev. 1-7): sin offering, whole burnt offering, elevation offering, peace offering, grain offering and drink offering. We no longer know the purpose of some offerings but they were clearly intended to cover the whole range of human feelings that people might want to bring before God—remorse, suffering, need, joy and gratitude.
The priesthood was to be hereditary, but this did not make the priestly dynasty less susceptible to temptation and sin. We already read that a priest who took his duties lightly risked death. Two of Aaron’s sons, Nadab and Abihu, took casually the precise requirements for the altar fire and died (Lev. 10:1-5). Do not confuse holiness with godliness. Holiness, being set apart, does not of itself confer purity of life. We may hope that holy people might be saintlier than others but it is not always so. Aaron erred greatly in the matter of the golden calf, bringing dreadful consequences upon the flock he was supposed to protect. It is no coincidence that the event is placed immediately after these ordination instructions. Scripture tells how Eli’s sons, Hophni and Phinehas, were guilty of sacrilege, greed, aggression and sexual abuse (1 Sam. 3:12, 13). For their selfish exploitation of their privileged positions, they died (1 Sam. 4:11).
The sins of Eli’s sons are not unheard of even among church leaders today. Being set apart may not confer purity of life but those who are set apart must strive for precisely that. Fearsome indeed is Jesus’ warning: those who lead others to sin would be better off being drowned than facing God’s judgment (Luke 17:1,2).
How can your life more reflect both holiness and purity? Re-commit yourself to spiritual transformation.
Lord, I need my parched spirit enlivened as I drink of You. You, who make all things new, renew me.
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