God’s Holiness is not about our Happiness: Leviticus 10

In chapter 9, we glimpsed God’s magnificence and glory. In chapter 10, we see how impactful His glory is on a personal level. We have been reading the great attention to detail God utilized when giving instructions to the Israelites. Unfortunately, even with specific expectations clearly dictated, Aaron’s sons managed to stray from God’s law regarding worship. The result? God revealed his glory and holiness to Nabab and Abihu… and it consumed them in fire. Their ashes stand as an example to the other priests, all of Israel, and all of humanity.

What does this tell me about God:

  • God is worthy of appropriate worship

Aaron’s sons did not worship God according to his expectations, and it cost them. God deserves obedience. His attention to detail through instruction deserves our attention to detail in follow through.

The notes in my Bible put it so well:

The worship of God should never be carried out in a careless fashion, nor should it be based on how you feel or what you find pleasing but rather on what God requires of you…

Israel served the living God whose laws were given not merely as a set of religious rituals but as the revelation of the glory of His Holiness and of the opportunity for obedience to the mandates of His righteousness. (Patterson, 2014, pgs. 130-131)

  • God’s glory is not to be grasped.

After Aaron’s sons were burned to death, Moses said, “This is what the Lord meant when He said:

I will show My holiness
to those who are near Me,
and I will reveal My glory
before all the people.”

After chapters 9 and 10, God’s glory was not something the Israelites just sang about half-heartedly, or invited naively into their lives. God’s glory was frighteningly overwhelming.

How can I live in light of this:

  • Thinking of God’s glory and holiness should move me to humble repentance.

I love singing songs of worship to God. There are some songs that come to mind, though, that do not give God justice for his magnanimous glory. Lyrics like “show me your glory,” “come consuming fire,” don’t seem to grasp the concept. God revealing His glory meant death.

So often, we sing songs of worship and feel a calming warmth. The melody, the crescendo, the instrumentals… they make us feel good. But if I were to stop and think about the lyrics, particularly in the context of Leviticus 10, I might be moved to a holy fear, awe, trembling, humility, and repentance.

Now, repentance and right perspective of God (Holy, Higher, other than), and right perspective of myself (unworthy, small, needy) can bring me to a place of joy and even happiness in my worship. But these feelings should be a result of correct perspective, not the result of pleasing melodies or emotional praise band leadership.

Other thoughts or questions:

  • I always perceived “waving the sacrifice” as a chicken breast mounted on a stick and waved like a flag before the Lord. After some research, I now know that “wave” meant lifting the sacrifice vertically by hand to present it to the Lord.
  • I cannot imagine the learning curve for all of these expectations. I appreciate that Leviticus includes the incident between Moses and Aaron in verses 16-20. It reminds me that we are all human. Even when Moses and Aaron were both cautious and meticulous to move forward properly in worship, they still had moments of doubt and had to work out what was proper in the situation.

What songs do you worship that will now have greater significance in your perspective of God?