The Problem With Fear

Fear is a universal human experience, and in many ways, it is a useful one.  Fear is what keeps us from jumping off cliffs to see what freefall feels like.  However, when it comes to serving the Lord, the same fear that normally acts to preserve us can lead us into disaster. Continue reading

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The Sin Offering in Leviticus 10

For generations, members of the Lord’s church have found Leviticus 10:1-3 to be a useful, if not a particularly pleasant, text.  The dramatic deaths of Nadab and Abihu illustrate a principle that we hold dear:  we must serve God according to His commandments, or else He will not be pleased with us.

However, Leviticus 10:16-20 offers an apparent counterpoint.  According to 6:24-30, the priests typically were supposed to eat the sin offering.  However, in 10:16, Moses finds that the sin offering, rather than being eaten, has been burned up.  A conversation with Aaron ensues, but by the end, Moses approves of Aaron’s decision to ignore the ordinance of Leviticus 6.

“Aha!” some critics say at this point.  “This is proof that we really don’t have to strictly obey the commandments of God.  Aaron disobeyed, yet Moses approved and God didn’t roast Aaron like He had his sons.”  In other words, they want to use 10:16-20 to nullify 10:1-3. Continue reading

The Jealousy of God

Commonly, we think of jealousy as a vice, a sin.  However, even though jealousy can lead to extreme and ungodly behavior (shooting your spouse is still not OK, even if you catch them in flagrante delicto), jealousy itself is not inherently evil.  After all, in Exodus 34:14, God says of Himself, “The Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God.”  Jealousy is part of God’s identity. Continue reading

The Red Sea and Baptism

The crossing of the Red Sea is one of the most important events in the history of Israel.  Before God intervened, any rational observer would have said the Israelites were dead meat.  There they were, on a hostile shore, no means of crossing to safety, and an enemy army coming up to destroy them.  However, God did intervene, and by the time He was through, it was the Egyptians, not the Israelites, who had been destroyed.  Clearly, their deliverance was due to God and God alone. Continue reading