Read Numbers 3 -- 4
In Today 's Reading:
Census and duties of the Levites: the Kohathites, the Gershonites, and the Merarites; the redemption of the firstborn
Nadab and Abihu, Aaron's two oldest sons, had been greatly honored by being included with Moses and Aaron and 70 others on Mount Sinai to hear the voice of God (Exodus 24:1,9). They had been given national recognition and God-ordained spiritual leadership. But, all this did not protect them from the consequences of their disobedience. The newly-ordained priests Nadab and Abihu died in the LORD's presence when they presented unauthorized fire in the LORD's presence in the wilderness of Sinai (Numbers 3:4). They presumed to burn incense, symbolic of the prayers of the people, with unauthorized fire which had not been kindled by God on the bronze altar (Leviticus 9:23-24; 10:1-2).
Their unauthorized fire underlined the seriousness of departing from the commandments of God. It points out that no one becomes so important or popular as a "spiritual" leader that God will overlook disobedience to His word. To be a minister, or even to become a member of a church, with no intent to submit one's life to please Christ, is hypocrisy.
The decision to ignore any command of God is sin. We are not to use circumstances to justify an exception to His word. Neither is there a choice of what part of His word we can neglect or reject, for all is God-breathed (inspired). The word of God is the source of meeting the needs of the human heart; it is the final and only source of absolute truth.
All Scripture (Old and New Testament) is . . . profitable (II Timothy 3:16). All New Testament doctrine is based on Old Testament principles. If we deliberately sin after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a terrifying expectation of judgment. . . . If anyone disregards Moses' law, he dies without mercy, based on the testimony of two or three witnesses. How much worse punishment, do you think one will deserve who has trampled on the Son of God, regarded as profane the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and insulted the Spirit of grace? (Hebrews 10:26-29).
By Aaron, the high priest, who was served by the Levites (Numbers 3:6). As a holy and royal priesthood, we serve Christ, our great High Priest (John 12:26; I Peter 2:5,9; Hebrews 4:14).
Government Officials: Del. Anibal Vila (PR) · Country: Papua New Guinea (5 million) in the southwest Pacific · Major languages: 715 indigenous languages · Religious freedom · 64% Protestant; 33% Roman Catholic; 2% ancestor worship, belief in spirits, witchcraft · Prayer Suggestion: Your prayers should be lifted up with confidence in God (Psalms 56:9,11).
Optional Reading: Mark 16
Memory Verse for the Week: Matthew 5:9