Leviticus 8 – Leviticus 10
There is joy! There is excitement! There is tragedy!
The day has come when Arron and his sons are ordained, consecrated, and set apart for their ministry to God and the oversight of the Tabernacle. It must have been an exciting day! It must have been a day full of great joy! This was a long awaited moment. With the tabernacle was complete, and with the priests soon to be ordained, there was a sense of stature and permanence for the people of Israel.
The anointing oil is poured! The bull is sacrificed! All is well! Almost! Tragedy soon strikes. Two of Aaron’s sons, (chapter 10) don’t quite follow the rules established by God on how things are supposed to be done in and around the Tabernacle. With that, they are consumed with the fire of the LORD. Wow! Perhaps that was unexpected. Perhaps that was a bit extreme. Perhaps that was a bit unjustified. Well, yes and no.
I will agree there isn’t much of a semblance of grace on this one. There isn’t even a chance for Aaron and his family to mourn as the orders are given, “do not dishevel our hair, and to not tear your vestments . . . you shall not go outside the entrance of the tent of meeting (to the burial site) . . . or you will die” (10:6-7). Again, all sounds a bit harsh. Yet, for us a readers, we’ve just journeyed through page after page with all of God’s how to’s in keeping the Tabernacle. God’s instructions are clear. We are supposed to follow them. At this point, as the priests are set apart, God shows that there are serious implications in not abiding by the Law.
What does that mean for you and me? Thanks be to God, it means that Jesus intercedes on our behalf, and despite our own imperfections, God shows us grace and mercy.
Our next reading: Leviticus 11 – 13