Monday, September 29, 2014

Fire from God for Grace and for Justice

At the end of the first week of the institution of the priestly office for Aaron and his sons, a ceremony was completed to inaugurate the Lord dwelling with His people and mediating His presence at the tabernacle through the priests (Lev 9).  This ceremony included "the entire assembly" of Israel standing before the Lord (Lev 9:5).  A calf was slaughtered before their eyes, cut up, and its blood put on the altar and poured out; then a lamb was cut to pieces.  Next, a goat was killed as a sin offering.  Finally both an ox and a ram were killed.  God had meticulously commanded these sacrifices to cover the people's sins and allow a Holy God to dwell with a sinful people.  This was an incredibly bloody day that all of the people watched.  Imagine the sounds and smells they saw as Aaron and his sons slowly worked to offer the sacrifices.  After Aaron stepped down from the altar, he and Moses blessed the people.  Then, the glory of the Lord appeared and "Fire came out from the presence of the Lord and consumed the burnt offering," (Lev 9:24).