And Moses said, This is the thing which the Lord commanded that ye should do: and the glory of the Lord shall appear unto you. — Leviticus 9:6
Our daughter was learning to sew. She found a pattern for a nightshirt and some pretty, blue material, and she was excited as she envisioned the finished product. Things went along fine for a while — until she came to a part of the instructions she did not understand. Becoming impatient to get on with the project, she began to put things together as she thought they should go without referring further to the directions. When the material bunched up, she cut off the excess. When it stuck up where it shouldn’t, she just stitched it down. Needless to say, the nightshirt became a disaster and was never fit to wear!
In today’s text, God established the requirements and directions for various types of offerings that were to be brought by the priests before the Lord. When these were offered according to God’s instructions, God’s glory was revealed and the sacrifice consumed. When, as in the case of Nadab and Abihu, the instructions were not followed, the consequences were immediate death! Retribution was swift and sure.
“To obey is better than sacrifice” is the theme repeated throughout the Word of God. We, too, are given specific instructions regarding our walk with God. If we want to receive His blessings, we must obey Him. We start by coming to Him the way He has provided. He sent His Son to be the Mediator between God and man, and there is no other way to God but through Christ. Then we follow through by learning His requirements and by asking Him daily for His help in obeying His instructions.
It does not pay to “put together” our Christian life without looking at His instructions. God has good reasons for His commandments. Yes, we can choose to do things “our way” instead of God’s way, but that is not wise. In fact, it will lead to certain disaster! We can avoid grave spiritual consequences and assure ourselves of God’s blessing by carefully following His instructions.
God gave strict guidelines to the priests and to the people regarding the various types of offerings. Prior to the time of Moses, the head of each family had offered sacrifices. God appointed Aaron as the first High Priest, and his descendants were to have “an everlasting priesthood throughout their generations” (Exodus 40:15). Since the office was hereditary, the descendants of Aaron were obligated to accept the responsibility and meet the qualifications.
The High Priest was the supreme religious head of the people. He was distinguished from his fellow priests by the clothes he wore, the duties he performed, and the particular requirements placed upon him. The High Priest was to obey every detail that God instructed him to do.
The order of the sacrifices was significant, following a standard pattern of ritual. The priest had to offer sacrifices for himself first before he could offer sacrifices for the people. Having made sacrifice for himself and for the people, he brought the blood into the Holy of Holies and sprinkled it on the mercy seat, God’s “throne.”
The priests were the official communicators between God and man. No person could bring his own sacrifice to God. The worshiper brought his offering — a physically perfect animal from the herd or flock or, in the case of a poor man, doves or pigeons — to the forecourt of the Tabernacle. He laid his hand on it, implying that it represented him, and slaughtered it. Then he took it to the priest and the priest, in turn, offered it to God. The priest went from man to God with the prayers and praises of the people. He stood for them and pleaded their cause.
Moses gave detailed directions for priests. Those instructions stated that God’s minister must be holy so he could serve a holy people as the holy God directed. God’s judgment resulted when those commands were not obeyed. When Aaron’s sons offered sacrifices in a manner contrary to God’s command, the entire community witnessed the consequences.
Moses spoke to the people and told them that the glory of the Lord would appear when the ordination was completed. Moses, Aaron, and the people then went to work and completed God’s instructions. Soon after, the glory of the Lord appeared, showing His approval of their obedience.
(Hannah’s Bible Outlines - Used by permission per WORDsearch)
I. The way of access to God
B. By priestly ministry
2. The inauguration of the priestly ministry (9:1-24)
a. The ministry inaugurated (9:1-21)
(1) Moses’ instructions (9:1-7)
(2) The offering for the priests (9:8-14)
(a) The sin offering (9:8-11)
(b) The burnt offering (9:12-14)
(3) The offering for the people (9:15-21)
(a) The sin offering (9:15)
(b) The burnt offering (9:16)
(c) The meal offering (9:17)
(d) The peace offering (9:18-21)
b. The glory of God manifested (9:22-24)
3. The sin of the priestly ministers (10:1-20)
a. The sin of Nadab and Abihu (10:1)
b. The judgment upon the priests (10:2-7)
c. New instructions (10:8-15)
(1) Concerning drink (10:8-11)
(2) Concerning the sacrifices (10:12-15)
d. The neglect of Eleazar and Ithamar (10:16-20)
An old familiar hymn says, “Trust and obey, for there’s no other way . . .” There is truth in that admonition! God has given us instructions in His Word. Let’s take care to follow them!