Death at Church
Does God care how we worship Him? Two priests once believed He does not. The result was death. Death at church. Find out more in today’s post.
Now Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, each took his censer and put fire in it and laid incense on it and offered unauthorized fire before the Lord, which he had not commanded them. And fire came out from before the Lord and consumed them, and they died before the Lord. Then Moses said to Aaron, “This is what the Lord has said: ‘Among those who are near me I will be sanctified, and before all the people I will be glorified.’” And Aaron held his peace. Leviticus 10:1-3
In pouring this ointment on my body, she has done it to prepare me for burial. Truly, I say to you, wherever this gospel is proclaimed in the whole world, what she has done will also be told in memory of her. Matthew 26:12-13
Here we have a dramatic contrast between people who sought to make offerings to God. In the Leviticus reading the two sons of Aaron offer unauthorized fire before the Lord. In Matthew a woman pours expensive ointment on Jesus. God punished the former with death; but Jesus honored the latter and made her an icon of faithfulness.
What made the difference here? Why did God accept the actions of one and not the actions of the others? God is not capricious. He has made His will clear in His word. The sons of Aaron were careless and, maybe, arrogant in their presumption. They exceeded their authority as priests before God, doing what was not commanded in God’s law. God showed that worship and the offerings to Him were serious business. Above all, God was to be sanctified, set apart from the common and ordinary. No one may worship Him casually or according to their personal preferences and whims.
Jesus was the Messiah whom God promised to Israel. One’s response to Him, whether in disbelief or in faith, was and is crucial. In anointing Jesus with ointment, the woman showed faith which emanated from her love for Him. As a result the Lord lavishly commended her action toward Him.
Think about it
What makes the difference between an acceptable and unacceptable offering to God? The unnamed woman glorified Christ. Aaron’s sons exalted themselves. If you hold a position of authority in the church, such as a preacher or teacher, remember the warning of the Apostle James: “Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness” James 3:1. Will you glorify God today? Seek to lift Him up before the watching world.