God’s Holy Fire

Published / by Dan Hett / 1 Comment on God’s Holy Fire

Exodus 29:10-21

 


fire
10 “Then you shall bring the bull before the tent of meeting. Aaron and his sons shall lay their hands on the head of the bull. 11 Then you shall kill the bull before the Lord at the entrance of the tent of meeting, 12 and shall take part of the blood of the bull and put it on the horns of the altar with your finger, and the rest of the blood you shall pour out at the base of the altar. 13 And you shall take all the fat that covers the entrails, and the long lobe of the liver, and the two kidneys with the fat that is on them, and burn them on the altar. 14 But the flesh of the bull and its skin and its dung you shall burn with fire outside the camp; it is a sin offering.15 “Then you shall take one of the rams, and Aaron and his sons shall lay their hands on the head of the ram, 16 and you shall kill the ram and shall take its blood and throw it against the sides of the altar. 17 Then you shall cut the ram into pieces, and wash its entrails and its legs, and put them with its pieces and its head, 18 and burn the whole ram on the altar. It is a burnt offering to the Lord. It is a pleasing aroma, a food offering to the Lord.19 “You shall take the other ram, and Aaron and his sons shall lay their hands on the head of the ram, 20 and you shall kill the ram and take part of its blood and put it on the tip of the right ear of Aaron and on the tips of the right ears of his sons, and on the thumbs of their right hands and on the great toes of their right feet, and throw the rest of the blood against the sides of the altar. 21 Then you shall take part of the blood that is on the altar, and of the anointing oil, and sprinkle it on Aaron and his garments, and on his sons and his sons’ garments with him. He and his garments shall be holy, and his sons and his sons’ garments with him.

 

In verse 10-14, a sin offering was presented for Aaron and his sons who were priests. The flesh and the intestines from the bull were to be burned not just outside of the tent of meeting but outside the camp as well while the internal organs were burned on the alter. That which was internal was holy enough to burn while the flesh and intestines were unclean. Even though the intestines were internal, they were unclean for obvious reasons.

In verse 21, they were to take some of the blood of the ram and anointing oil and sprinkle it on Aaron’s garment and his son’s garments. This is an interesting picture. Here we have these ornate garments that were crafted with great skill with fine linens and then the blood of an animal is sprinkled on them randomly of which the blood and oil would have stained their garments. This random sprinkling, however,  now made them holy. And, not only were they now holy, but also their garments.

I see this picture: Every day when the priest puts on the garments, he saw the random stains of blood and was reminded of his own sin and his imperfect frailty before God. It would also remind him of his need for purification, sanctification , and cleansing. He walks out among the people who also see these beautiful garments with stains. As the Priest goes about his work and the multitude of sacrifices, it is almost certain blood from the animals would splatter on his garment. Each morning, new stains would appear. More reminders of sin.

In the same way, we were made by God. Perfect and clothed with amazing physical bodies of flesh and bone. Adorned with mind, body, and spirit to worship and fellowship with the creator. Yet, stained with sin that randomly spots us and is ever before us, we see sin on ourselves inwardly and outwardly. We can’t shake it. We see our frailty every morning as we look in the mirror and see new stains of sin.

Now, in Matthew 3:11 John the Baptist says “I baptize you with water for repentance. But after me comes one who is more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.” 

The baptism of fire could be of judgement or of God’s cleansing sanctification. Either way, fire is a cleansing process. It burns impurities out of minerals such as gold. In the same way, when we submit our lives to Jesus, after the initial result of salvation (the “seal” as mentioned in Ephesians 1), we are continually being corrected and reformed by God’s holy fire which takes submission on our part. We must be willing to admit our inabilities and our sin before God can do his work. Our flesh will burn on this earth (or what is left) with a physical fire. But, our internal whole self (spirit, soul, and heart) have already been burned with God’s holy fire which was allowed because of the shedding of Jesus’ blood.

Remember that these stains of sin we see do not need to be a catalyst for condemnation causing us to run from God. But instead, to be a reminder of our need for a savior and a preempt on our part to go before the Holy Tabernacle with our stain before us, knowing this is how God wants it to be. Just you, him, and your stains of imperfection. Run to God’s holy throne with conviction and he will meet you with open arms and let your internal self burn with God’s holy fire.

In Exodus 19 God says “you will be for me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation. These are the words you are to speak to the Israelites.”

God desired that all of Israel become priests. In a sense that he wanted a personal relationship with each Jew that the priesthood brought by being in the Tent of Meeting. Because of the separation of holy and common, this could not be even though God desired it. Now we have become the tabernacle (the Tent of Meeting), a living sacrifice. And in fact, in the last days we shall be a kingdom of priests. Revelations 5:10 “You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to serve our God, and they will reign on the earth.”

 

Psalms 42 – Standing Before God

Published / by Dan Hett / Leave a Comment

As the deer longs for streams of water,
    so I long for you, O God.
I thirst for God, the living God.
    When can I go and stand before him?

This passage was written from the Sons of Korah. You may remember Korah who rebelled against Moses and tried to lead a revolt. Korah and the leaders were sure they were on the right side and Moses had gone to far. In the end Korah and his followers were destroyed. Generations later, his descendants end up writing many psalms that make it into the Book of Psalms. And, although Korah was prideful, rebellious, and lacked the fear of the Lord, the “Sons of Korah” had a spiritual depth of understanding and a lot of wisdom that weaves throughout their writings.

Sometimes when we come from a great multitude of sin and recognize the wrong that we or our ancestors have caused, it gives us a balance of understanding and reflection that breads a deeper knowledge of the truth. In this Psalms, we see just that. Here is a deep desire to get closer to God than this person already is. From my perspective, as soon as someone prays to God, they are not far off. If one is pursuing God then they have a desire to know him. But, like perhaps your favorite food dish, a few bites does not satisfy.

In verse 2, the Psalmist wants to stand before God. The Complete Jewish Bible says “When can I come and appear before God?” If the Psalmist is asking the question then he must be waiting for something. This could be to stand before God literally perhaps in the after life. But, the concept of heaven was not well cemented in the Old Testament which makes this unlikely. Instead, the Psalmist probably was referring to being in the Synagogue because in verse 5, the Psalmist talks about missed opportunities gathering with others in the House of God. Why would this person be waiting? That is uncertain. But, it is clear there is a real desire to be back in the Synagogue where he can worship God once again.

If you have ever been truly thirsty, you know you don’t stop until you find water. Because you know that once you do, your thirst will be quenched. I think that is why it is mentioned that this thirst is not just any god, but the living God (verse 2). Only the living God can quench the thirst of a spiritually hungry man.

This passage is full of highs and lows. We often think it wrong to question God or question our own faith but God built us to have a relationship and not to be simple mindless soldiers. We ask out of genuine curiosity regarding the state we find ourselves in and in this passage, the state is very dire.

First this person starts off with a longing for a deeper relationship as the deer pants for the waters. Again, it is mentioned in verse 7. A deep relationship that is based on meat rather than milk. Perhaps this longing stems from the deep depression that is felt in verse 5, “My soul, why are you so downcast? Why are you groaning inside me?”

However, this low is contrasted with hope in God. The reason for this hope is that salvation comes from God’s presence (verse 5b). And to cement this feeling, the Psalmist does a simple thing. He stands on the hill of Mizar and looks out at Mount Herman. Mount Herman separates Palestine and Israel and is a cluster of mountain peaks. Here, the Psalmist sees the majestic mountain and remembers God’s awesomeness. And, the following verse sums up the feeling felt from this grandeur, “Deep is calling to deep at the thunder of your waterfalls; all your surging rapids and waves are sweeping over me.” 

This is the essence of wanting more meat rather than going back to milk after being confronted by hardship. This is the true heart of a Christian who seeks for deeper answers after living with the Word in his or her heart. It is trying to match up Biblical truths to this World which is like trying to match a round peg in a square hole but finding peace after hard soul searching.

What hardships have you confronted that make you feel like throwing in the towel? If you are honest, even a seasoned and heavily indoctrinated Christian feels like this more than he would care to admit. Feeling like giving up and actually giving up are two entirely different things. That is why it is important to note that here is a man that felt deep conviction for God but couldn’t shake the feeling he felt in his soul. A deep groaning that would not stop nagging at his faith. I can’t help but think that looking at Mount Herman, the Psalmist felt like he was standing before God just as he desired in verse 2.

This is why it is important to take a breather and have some time with nature. Enjoy the night sky, view a majestic mountain, or marvel at the gift of humanity. It may just put things in perspective for you. In the end, you will always come back to an affirmation that you will put your trust in the Lord.