TODAY’S READING: Leviticus 8–10
The Urim (light) and Thumim (completeness) were the two parts of the lot (Lev. 8:8) connected to the high priest’s garments. A lot was something that helped determine God’s leading, and with only two components, ostensibly one was “yes” and the other “no.” How marvelous that God’s “yes” brings light and His “no” makes us complete. Just as viable is the counter reality. Perhaps when God says no, we see better (light) and when He says yes, we are fulfilled (complete). Either way, both the “yes” and “no” of God are beautiful.
When it comes to God’s purposes in the world, we are to take our questions to His presence. We do that individually (8:35) and we do that corporately (9:5). When we allow God to choose for us, when we submit to His choices and like it, then the glory falls. God’s choices all through the Bible center on His passionate desire to redeem to Himself members of every people group on earth. It is in this course of action (His and ours) that He receives glory. It is why He ordains and equips priests.
Aaron, ordained and equipped, lifts his hand to bless the people (vv. 22–23). Fidelity to the big picture makes it impossible to read about blessing without reference to God, Abraham, and the nations of the world, and it is impossible to participate in blessing all peoples of the world without both the glory of Jehovah appearing (v. 23) and the fire of Jehovah falling (v. 24). What can we do but shout and fall on our face!
Leviticus, however, includes a cautionary tale for those who light their fire from sources other than where Jehovah concentrates His. Nadab and Abihu offered profane fire and were roasted for their impertinence. Jehovah explains their fate simply: By all who come near Me, I must be regarded as holy; and before all the people I must be glorified (10:3). It’s stunning. If God’s priestly sons do not glorify Him before all the people, then He is dishonored and disregarded. It’s sobering. If we devolve worship (in its fullest expression is every tongue and tribe praising Jesus together) into a ritualistic, ethnocentric, and self-serving exercise that does not glorify the God of all peoples before all peoples, then we, too, will burn, no matter from what family we hail.
Our reading ends with stringent missional intolerance. Aaron’s sons do not glorify God before all people. God’s anger consumes them. Aaron is not allowed to grieve. If our lives and worship, our ministries and churches, our prayers and purses do not glorify God before all peoples, then God will burn them down or up, and He won’t allow us to grieve them. God sends light and completeness to those who truly worship by glorifying Him among all peoples, and He sends the fire of death to those who don’t.