Summary: Often things in our lives, even though they once held great value, become nothing special, average. Even though their value has not changed our attitude towards these things do. What happens when we do this to God...
(Show off my pen and praise it as something special) Some of you are looking at me thinking, “what on earth is he talking about, it’s just a pen.” Well for all of you who are thinking that you are absolutely right. It is nothing special. I am sure that there are thousands of these same jackets all over the world and it is a very common and average thing. Most things in this world are common and not unique, but I want to point your attention to someone who is not common.
1. Not distinguished by superior or noteworthy characteristics.
2. Of no special quality; standard, average.
3. Of mediocre or inferior quality; second-rate.
Although this could adequately describe my jacket it is the opposite of what God is. He would be superior in every way with innumerable noteworthy characteristics. He is of the best and finest quality. Although many of know that in our heads, do we really treat him like that?
Chosen to for Holy things (vs.9:24-25)
In Exodus we see that Aaron and his sons are chosen to be priests to work and care for the sacred things of God. “Your brother, Aaron, and his sons, Nadab, Abihu, Eleazar, and Ithamar, will be set apart from the common people. They will be my priests and will minister to me.” (Ex 28:1) The tabernacle had been constructed and the presence of God dwelt there. What a wonderful, awesome and immense task to be given. They were set apart for this specific task and this alone. They were no longer common, but chosen of God to minister to God as caretakers of what was holy. All of Israel had been ordered to remain at a distance from God, but these few were allowed closeness; intimacy with Him. They knew what it meant to be in the manifest presence of God. Seems to me like an awesome thing. Along with this came clear guidelines as to how they were to act and what exactly God expected of them. Purity and holiness was required at all times, for God is Holy.
Some of you might be sitting here this morning thinking, “wow, what I wouldn’t give to be in their position, to know His presence in that way.” I have to be honest, I thought the same thing, but you quickly find out that it is possible for all of us to know Him that way. You see, unlike the nation of Israel, we have not been called to stand at a distance; in fact we have all been called to draw near to His presence. James clearly says it in chapter 4 of that epistle, “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.” You see because of the work of Christ we have been called from what was common and we are now a, “…CHOSEN RACE, A ROYAL PRIESTHOOD, A HOLY NATION, A PEOPLE FOR God’s OWN POSSESSION, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light…” (1Peter 2:9) You and I have been called out and chosen for Holy things!
Changing of attitude (vs.1-2)
By the time we come into the book of Leviticus Aaron and his sons had been functioning as ministers of the tabernacle and they would have been well versed in the strict laws of holiness that they were to live by. What we have happening is that the Israel nation is assembled and they are basically having an enormous service. The sins of the people are being forgiven and they are being blessed by both Moses and Aaron. Aaron’s two sons, Nadab and Abihu, join in the service, probably serving in the same way they had many time before. In fact the scriptures say that they picked up their respective firepans getting ready to burn incense before the Lord. Lighting the burners they did something very wrong. They chose their own incense and offered strange fire or profane fire before the Lord. It seemed to be something so insignificant, but in reality they were treating what is holy as if it were common. Profane means irreverent or treating with contempt that which is sacred. If they feared the Lord they would have obeyed in an attempt to be holy, but they did not and the Lord took their lives right there where they stood.
There is a well known saying that says, “Familiarity breeds contempt.” Basically it means that once we are around something long enough it becomes common to us, even though it’s value has not changed. We eventually end up treating it as if it were average or nothing special. Where this becomes problematic for the believer is that no matter how familiar we are with God He must never be seen as common, but held in high regard with fear. When we sing songs about God but don’t really mean them and scorn what is holy. Psalm 89:7 “God is greatly to be feared in the assembly of the saints, and to be held in reverence by all those that are about him.” NKJV Often, after years of church we begin to treat God as if He were common and even without doing it on purpose we profane him by giving Him anything less then holiness and reverence.