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.'”
Aaron’s two oldest sons, after they had been ordained as priests, did something foolish. The chapter implies that they may have been drinking at the time. However it was, they decided to offer a “special offering” to the Lord. It wasn’t an offering that He had commanded; this was just an offering of incense that they brought. It seemed like a good idea to their befuddled minds at the time, but it was a mockery of the offerings that God had commanded them to bring.
Fire came out of the Tabernacle from the Lord’s presence and burned them up where they stood.
Their father Aaron was shocked and dismayed. The whole nation of Israel was astonished. Why would God do such a thing?
The Lord gave Moses a message for Aaron. It was intended, on the one hand, as comfort; there was a reason for what had happened. It was also intended as a solemn warning to Aaron, his remaining two sons, to all of their descendants, and to us: 'Among those who are near me I will be sanctified, and before all the people I will be glorified.'
People hold you and me as Christians to a higher standard. They expect better from us than from everyone else, including themselves! They are more disappointed when they hear that a Christian has been caught in some foolish or immoral behavior than they would be by anyone else.
It might not be fair, but it’s appropriate. God Himself says that He expects to be honored by the lives, words and behavior of those who are close to Him.
There is forgiveness for the many times we fail to maintain that standard of godly behavior. The blood of Jesus cleanses us from all our sin - even this. But think of the effect our failures have on those who are watching! They need to see in us what a difference it makes to belong to Jesus.
Lord, You alone know my many failures. People inevitably see some of them and they long to see better. Thank You for Your abundant forgiveness for Jesus’ sake. Keep me close to You today. Keep me from falling in temptation. Deliver me from every kind of evil, for Jesus’ sake. Be glorified in my life today! Amen.
Pastor Dan Giles