“I will be sanctified in them that come neigh me “
By: Micael Peebles
Date : April 6, 2013
Suggested reading for this meditation is the Torah portion for this week.
When Nadab and Abihu offered strange fire (an unspecified incense offering), the fire of the LORD broke out and destroyed them. Then Moses said unto Aaron, “This is it that the Lord spake, saying, I will be sanctified in them that come nigh me, and before all the people I will be glorified.”
It is almost impossible to conceive what Aaron must have been feeling at that moment. He was not even permitted to turn from serving before the LORD to mourn his own sons. Our thoughts naturally tend to revolve on how unnatural a situation this seems to be. We enter into the text with feeling, considering what our own emotional response might have been to such a thing. We would feel intense sorrow, but perhaps also might have difficulty remaining free of anger or bitterness toward God.
But let’s set our sympathy for Aaron aside for a moment and look at this from God’s perspective, to the degree we are able. He entered into this moment as Sovereign of the Universe; the Ever-Living One. He spoke, and it was created. He brought these people out with his outstretched arm, revealing himself as powerful beyond comprehension. He gave his instructions about this moment in great detail, and even specifically forbade the very thing that had happened here.
Aaron had submitted to the influence of the people, and made the golden calf. Now, Nadab and Abihu were taking the service God had given them and were making it a matter of pure showmanship; a circus. In essence, they were conscious of the people, and the face of their heart was toward them to impress them with the spectacle, while God had become a backdrop for that spectacle.
But God brought everyone’s attention back to himself.
Anyone who has a heart to live near to YHVH ought to keep this in mind. He has chosen that those who would be near him must remain focused on him, not turn in their heart to please others instead.