What You’ve Missed…
* We’ve taken a detour into the book of Leviticus, which includes:
* An incredibly detailed list of exactly which family members you shouldn’t sleep with.
* An incredibly detailed amount of instructions for burnt offerings, and peace offerings, and sin offerings. The priests of the day had to have been the best butchers in town at this point. (The legacy of the Jewish deli begins…)
* An incredibly detailed amount of instructions on how to avoid becoming “unclean” and an incredibly detailed amount of instructions on how to become clean if you are “unclean”. I’ve never been more thankful for hand sanitizer.
* Finally, God must really love pancakes, because He sure does talk a lot about unleavened bread. I bet that’s why He was taking the Israelites to the “land of milk and honey”…it’s all about breakfast.
Daily Reading: Leviticus 9-11
Now I have to admit that Leviticus doesn’t make for the most exciting reading. But I think whoever wrote it knew they had to keep their readers’ attention, and so every now and again the author includes something crazy to keep things lively.. Like God incinerating two dudes out of nowhere. Yeah, that got my attention too.
So at the end of Leviticus 9 Moses and Aaron bless the people and “the glory of the LORD appeared to the whole community.” Now, I have no idea what that even means, but I have to believe it was pretty intense. I mean, the last time God appeared to the people it was through a pretty radical thunderstorm with a little earthquake on the side. This time He simply reveals Himself in all His glory. Are we talking a crazy blinding light, pulsating to the rhythm of God’s voice as He spoke? Or did they see a very big man with flowing white hair, surrounded by angels, sitting on a throne the size of a small planet? Or was it something else? I don’t know. All I know is that being in God’s presence caused Moses’ face to glow from time to time, so God revealing His glory to everyone must have lit the place up like Vegas.
Anyway…so God is hanging out with His people, when two of Aaron’s sons decide to burn some incense. But they must not have read the packaging correctly, because they chose the wrong stuff. No big deal right? I mean, what’s the worst outcome possible here; that their girlfriends come over and tell them that creating the bare minimum romantic atmosphere isn’t enough to seal the deal? Wrong. Here’s another possible ending:
“In this way, they disobeyed the LORD by burning before him the wrong kind of fire, different than he had commanded. So fire blazed forth from the LORD’s presence and burned them up, and they died there before the LORD.” (Leviticus 10:1-2)
That’s nuts! Before even discussing why this happened, can we just pause for a moment and imagine what that was like? Fire shooting out from the glory of the LORD!? That’s like fire shooting out from a giant ball of pulsating light that’s just hovering around outside, killing two guys instantly. This sounds weird enough to be the climax of some crazy science fiction movie…except it isn’t fiction. You know people were standing around with their jaws on the floor, their minds completely blown. And you know there had to be one adolescent kid who leaned over to his buddy and whispered, “That was awesome.” And that kid would be correct.
Now, again, it’s stories like this that tell me God means what He says. He just lit two guys up for BURNING THE WRONG INCENSE IN FRONT OF HIM. He clearly wants His people to know the seriousness of His power and words.
Way to go Leviticus. You went from slightly mundane to incredibly insane in just two versus. Well done, my friend. Very well done.
(Note: If you want to read something else completely random and slightly bizarre, check out Leviticus 14:33-57. And if you can make some sense of it, by all means, please share it with the group. Man, the Bible is weird!)